McNulty Cruises to SBC Victory

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2004 SBC ChampionshipSAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Mark McNulty fired a 6-under 65 on Sunday to cruise to victory at the SBC Championship. He posted an 18-under-par 195 total to win by eight over Gary McCord at Oak Hills Country Club.
 
McCord shot a 2-under 69 for his highest finish this season. Bobby Wadkins posted a 4-under 67 and took third alone at 9-under-par 204. The $108,000 third-place check moved him into the top-30, thus getting him a spot in next week's Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
 
McNulty's three-day total of 195 broke Craig Stadler's old tournament record of 198 from last year. The win was McNulty's second of the 2004 season to go along with the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.
 
'I'm very delighted with my performance today,' said McNulty, who pocketed $225,000 for the victory. 'I'm a pretty good front-runner. Four shots is a tricky position to be in. It's a smelly lead to have.'
 
McNulty parred his first two holes on Sunday, then sank a 10-foot par save at No. 3 to keep his round going. From there, McNulty put the tournament away with a 12-foot birdie putt at four and a short birdie putt at five to reach 14 under par for the championship.
 
At the seventh, McNulty hit a 9-iron to 15 feet to set up his third birdie of the round. He closed his front nine with another birdie, this time from a foot away thanks to another spectacular 9-iron shot.
 
McNulty parred his first four holes on the back nine, but rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt at the 14th. He missed the green with his second at the par-5 15th, but chipped to 4 feet and made the putt for his second birdie in a row.
 
At the 16th, McNulty knocked a wedge to 10 feet and sank the birdie putt. He stood on the 17th tee at 19 under par and with an eye-opening 10-stroke advantage.
 
McCord birdied the 17th, and McNulty bogeyed the last to make the final margin eight shots. That missed the Champions Tour record for largest margin of victory by a shot, but McNulty did not seem to mind. Nor does he seem to care that he is now in the mix for Champions Tour Rookie of the Year after becoming the sixth multiple winner on the elder circuit.
 
'I'm not too concerned with the Rookie of the Year race,' said McNulty. 'I was fortunate enough to hit some quality shots during the round. I knew it would be hard to catch me.'
 
McCord, better known as an analyst for CBS, tallied two birdies over her first five holes, but dropped shots at six and seven. He added birdies at 11 and 17 to get the solo second.
 
Wadkins was 2 under after his front nine, but got the round going with a tap-in eagle at the par-5 10th. He collected an 8-foot birdie putt at 11, but mixed two bogeys and a birdie the rest of the way.
 
It was still enough to get Wadkins in the field next week.
 
'I sort of knew I had to finish solo third to have a chance,' said Wadkins. 'It's hunting season and I was ready to go home. I came here to do some fishing and play a little golf.'
 
Tom Kite (68), Dave Stockton (68) and Bruce Fleisher (70) tied for fourth place at 8-under-par 205. Larry Nelson (67), Dana Quigley (72) and Morris Hatalsky (72) shared seventh at minus-7.
 
Hale Irwin began the tournament with a one-point lead over Stadler in the Charles Schwab Cup race, which gives a $1 million, tax-free annuity. He shot a final-round 69 to tie for 10th place with Darrell Kestner (70) at 6-under-par 207. Irwin picked up 38 points in the Schwab Cup race that will be finalized after next week's event.
 
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