Sluman Simply Great in Milwaukee

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The Greater Milwaukee Open is the primer for next weeks Open Championship. But major winners have never fared well at Brown Deer Park Golf Course.
 
Over 35 years, only six major champions have captured the GMO title. And just three of those already had a major to their credit when they won in Wisconsin. Art Wall, the 1959 Masters champion, prevailed in 1975. Greg Norman, the 1986 British Open champion, was the victor in 89. And 1988 PGA Champion Jeff Sluman won in 1998.
 
Sluman also took home top honors a year ago, giving him the distinction of this weeks defending champion.
 
The now 45-year-old used a Saturday 8-under 63 to take sole possession of the lead entering the final round, and then came home in 68 to cruise to a four-stroke victory ' the sixth of his PGA Tour career.
 
Sluman finished at 23-under-par 261, missing Loren Roberts 72-hole tournament scoring record by a single swing.
 
Roberts, like Sluman, is a multiple GMO winner. There have been six in tournament history: Dave Stockton (1968, 73), Dave Eichelberger (1971, 77), Calvin Peete (1979, 82), Scott Hoch (1995, 97), Roberts (1996, 2000) and Sluman (1998, 2002).
 
Sluman, Roberts and Hoch ' all of who were over the age of 40 when they won ' have combined for six of the last eight GMO titles. Paraguayan Carlos Franco, in 1999, and Japan's Shigeki Maruyama, in 2001, are the only other two players to win during that stretch.
 
Hoch could use a change in luck. He has suffered with hand problems that make it difficult to grasp total control of the club.
 
Since winning at Doral in a playoff over Jim Furyk, Hoch has six missed cuts and one withdrawal in eight starts. He hasn't played since pulling out of the Buick Classic after an opening 75.
 
This years purse has been upped to $3.5 million. The winner will get $630,000 ' $72K more than Sluman pocketed in 2002.
 
With the season's third major on the horizon, many of the top-ranked players are taking the week off, or competing in the European Tour's Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.
 
Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Chad Campbell, John Rollins and Ben Crane are among the PGA Tour regulars who will be competing at Loch Lomond.
 
Kenny Perry, at 11th in the Official World Golf Ranking, is the highest ranked player in the GMO field.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the Greater Milwaukee Open
  • More PGA Tour Preview Information