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Rookie Triumphs Over Veterans In Tennessee

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Sammy Rachels fired a career-best 9-under-par 63 to win the BellSouth Senior Classic in Nashville, Tenn.

Rachels, a rookie on Tour, won his first Senior PGA Tour event by holding off a trio of players who have combined for 86 career PGA and Senior PGA Tour victories.
 
Rachels finished the event at 17-under-par 199; four shots clear of defending champion Hale Irwin, who holds the career wins record on the Senior circuit with 31.
 
Its a wonderful day for me, said Rachels, who collected the biggest check of his life at $240,000. I dont know what to tell anybody. If theres such a thing as karma, it was really on my side today.
 
Rachels played on the PGA Tour from 1975 ' 1985, but was forced to quit due to reoccurring back problems.
 
The 50-year-old former club pro, with his son as his caddie, carded five birdies and two eagles in the final round. He eagled both the par-5 1st and the par-5 10th.
 
I held my mouth right. The coins were in my pocket right. My hat was sitting right. Who knows how it goes for you like that? Rachels said.
 
Rachels joins Bob Gilder (Verizon Classic) as the only rookies to win on the Tour this season.
 
Full-field scores from the BellSouth Senior Classic