Nelson Takes Game to Vegas


Larry Nelson returns this week to Las Vegas, Nev., and the TPC at Summerlin, site of his first win of the 2000 season and the beginning of his finest year on the Senior PGA Tour.
Sparked by a final-round charge in which he went 5-under over his last five holes, Nelson pulled a sparkling 64 out of his bag to best Hale Irwin and Bruce Fleisher by an equal five shots at 19-under 197.
At the time, Fleisher and Irwin were the top guns on the 50-and-over circuit, and in the three weeks leading up to last seasons event, Nelson had finished second three consecutive times.
After his win at Summerlin, however, the quiet man went on a tear that shocked just about everyone.
Nelson would win five more times during the course of the 2000 season, for a total of six. He also cashed in another 12 top-10 finishes in that time. He dominated, and as a result was named the Player of the Year.
This season, Larry Nelson has already won two times, coming in his first two starts of the year at the MasterCard Championship and the Royal Caribbean Classic. In the seven events he has played since the victories, he has finished outside the top-8 on just one occasion.
Most recently, Nelson ended in a tie for fifth at last weeks Countrywide Tradition.
Not that he was very close to winning, however, as Doug Tewell blitzed the rest of the field at the Seniors first major of the season with a final round of 62 and a total score of 23-under-par ' nine strokes better than anyone and 16 better than the fifth-placed Nelson.
Tewell will be in attendance this week in Las Vegas as well. So too will Fleisher, Irwin, Jim Thorpe and Lanny Wadkins.
They will all be battling it out for a first-place check worth $210,000.
The Las Vegas Senior Classic has been contested since 1986, when Aussie Bruce Crampton won the inaugural event. The tournament was hosted at the Desert Inn Country Club back then, but switched to the TPC at Summerlin in 94.
Since the switch of venues, Summerlin has seen repeat champions on two occasions. Jim Colbert won in 95 and 96, and Irwin took the prize in 97 and 98.
See who is in this week's field