McNulty Returns For Early Defense

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2005 Outback Pro-Am 125Mark McNulty didnt have to wait long to defend the first title of his Champions Tour career. McNulty returns this week to the TPC of Tampa Bay for the Outback Steakhouse Pro-am where a year ago he won in his Champions Tour debut.
 
McNulty became only the 11th player in history to title in his first elder circuit start. Trailing by four shots after round one, McNulty, from Zimbabwe, fashioned rounds of 65-68 to post a one-shot victory over Larry Nelson.
 
McNulty, who shot all three rounds in the 60s, became the first player to win in his first Champions start since 2001 when Bobby Wadkins captured the Long Island Classic. McNulty's three-day total of 200 tied the tournament mark set by Jim Colbert and George Archer in 1992 and equaled by Bruce Fleisher in 2000.
 
This year, McNulty will try to do something no player has ever been able to accomplish, win the tournament in back-to-back years.
 
Another player to watch this week is Bruce Fleisher. 'Flash' has dominated this event, posting two wins, two seconds, a third and last years tie for 11th while amassing $770,200 in earnings. In his six starts at this event, Fleisher is a combined 46-under-par with 12 of 18 rounds in the 60s.
 
Another notable is Fuzzy Zoeller who thrilled the galleries during last years final round, as he stormed from nine shots back to tie for third, with his course-record-tying 61. Zoeller's round included a stretch of seven straight birdies, just one shy of the tour record.
 
This event is famous for come-from-behind wins. In nine of the 13 events held at the TPC of Tampa Bay, a player has come from off the pace on Sunday to win. Only Dave Stockton, who was tied for the top spot after 36 holes in 1995, Larry Nelson in 1999, Fleisher in 2000 and McNulty last year, have gone on to claim the Outback Steakhouse title after being in front at the end of Saturday. In 1994, Rocky Thompson rallied from seven strokes down to win thanks to a final-round 61, the lowest score recorded on the Champions Tour in the final round by a winner.
 
The Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am will also feature a unique celebrity and amateur component. Celebrities and amateurs will play alongside Champions Tour players in the first and second rounds, with a select number competing again in Sunday's final round. Last season, Mike McCullough and his amateur partner, Steve Chapman, won the pro-am portion of this event with a 30-under 183 totals.
 
The Champions Tour moves to California in two weeks for the SBC Classic, as Gil Morgan defends his title.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am
     
    Editor's note: Information from The Sports netowrk was used in this report.