Hatalsky Big Winner

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PARK CITY, Utah -- Morris Hatalsky produced 12 points in the final round and cruised to the first Senior Tour victory of his career Sunday at the Uniting Fore Care Classic.
 
Hatalsky had a three-day haul of 42 points in the modified Stableford scoring system, a format that awards two points for a birdie and five for an eagle, and deducts one point for a bogey and three for anything worse. He finished an impressive 12 points ahead of Jay Sigel, who closed with 11 for a total of 30 at Park Meadows Country Club.
 
Hale Irwin racked up 13 points on Sunday to tie for third alongside Jerry McGee, John Bland and Mike McCullough with 29.
 
Hatalsky was tied with John Jacobs after two rounds but separated himself from the field with five birdies on the front nine, including four straight from the fifth.
 
'I won the tournament on the first nine holes and then I got conservative,' he said.
 
Although he missed a pair of six-foot putts to bogey the ninth and 13th holes, Hatalsky quickly turned things around with a 40-foot chip-in at the next hole, his second birdie from off the 14th green this week.
 
He collected his final points at the par-5 15th, where he knocked a 7-iron over the green but got up and down for a birdie.
 
'Playing the Senior Tour is a wonderful opportunity,' said the 50-year-old Hatalsky, a four-time winner PGA Tour titlist who began the season as a Monday qualifier after failing to earn exempt status at Senior Tour Q-School last fall.
 
'I had been off the PGA Tour for five years. It's not like riding a bicycle, especially the mental side of the game.'
 
Hatalsky pocketed $225,000 for the victory -- his first since the 1990 Bank of Boston Classic -- to move to 10th on the 2002 money list with $1,090,425. He came into the week with 10 top-10 finishes, including a runner-up showing at the Farmers Charity Classic and ties for second at the NFL Golf Classic and Canada Senior Open.
 
Hatalsky felt no final round pressure from Jacobs or Tom Watson, who was four points behind the leaders heading into the day.
 
Jacobs, whose 24 points in Saturday's second round set a record for the highest single-day point total in modified Stableford scoring, made only three birdies Sunday versus five bogeys and a double bogey for minus-two points. He finished alone in seventh place with 28.
 
'This is about the fourth or fifth time I've played bad on Sunday here,' said Jacobs, who has four top-10s in this event over the last five years. 'I think there's a jinx up here or something. Sometimes you try too hard and it backfires.'
 
Watson offset two birdies with four bogeys for zero points.
 
This marked this first time the modified Stableford format was used in the 21-year history of this event.
 
It was the second straight year the champion won his first Senior Tour title at Park Meadows. In 2001, Steve Veriato captured this event in stroke play.
 
Veriato tied for 43rd on Sunday with a total of 16 points.
 

Full-field scores from United Fore Care Classic