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Morland Wins Rain-Shortened Southern Open

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SHREVEPORT, La. -- David Morland IV shot a 4-under 68 Sunday to win the weather-shortened Southern Open for his first Buy.Com Tour victory. He completed 54 holes at 19-under-par 197 and won by three shots over John Morse and Steven Alker.
 
More importantly for Morland, the first-place check of $76,500 vaulted him into 54th on the tour's money list. The top 55 in earnings through this event received invitations to the Tour Championship, the final event of the year and the biggest purse all season.
 
'Unfortunately, I'm only half way to my goal of winning the last two tournaments of the year,' said Morland, who played in 20 events on the PGA Tour schedule in 2002. 'I still need to win next week to move into the top 15 on the money list and get back to the PGA Tour next year. Finishing second wasn't the reason I came back to play the last two Buy.Com Tour tournaments. Winning both is the goal.'
 
The top 15 players on the Buy.Com Tour money list after next week's Tour Championship receive full exemptions to the PGA Tour for the 2003 campaign.
 
Alker fired a 6-under 66 Sunday while Morse managed a 67. Morse pulled within two of Morland after a birdie at No. 15 but three pars the rest of the way squashed Morse's chances.
 
'David was tough today,' said Morse. 'Maybe if I could have birdied the two par-5s on the back nine, it may have made a difference. But he was just too much to catch this week.'
 
Australian Aaron Baddeley posted a 6-under 66 and shared fourth place with Tag Ridings. Ridings carded a 67 to match Baddeley at 14-under-par 202.
 
Morland opened Sunday's round with a four-shot lead as continuous storms pounded Southern Trace Country Club and caused tournament officials to postpone Saturday's action and cut the tournament to 54 holes.
 
Morland traded a birdie and a bogey in his first three holes. He added a birdie at No. 8 to make the turn at 1-under-par 35 but only held a one-shot lead over Alker.
 
Alker only managed pars until a birdie at 17, which was too late to impact Morland. Morland birdied 12 and 13 to extend his lead and when Morse got within two, Morland birdied No. 17 to cement the victory.
 
'I knew it would be tough for those guys to catch me,' said Morland. 'Today I was trying to just hit fairways and greens. The biggest thing is not to play too conservative when you have the lead, and I was able to do that.'
 
Morland receive a boost thanks to a new caddie, his fiance Michele Ikerd. Ikerd did such a wonderful job, she will be back on the bag this week for the Tour Championship.
 
'She's not going anywhere and will definitely be on the bag next week,' said Morland. 'She was a trooper all week, especially with the bad weather. A tour bag can be pretty heavy, particularly with all of the rain gear we had packed inside.'
 
Jeff Klauk fired an 8-under 64 and shared sixth place with David Branshaw (68), Ben Bates (68), Joe Daley (68) and Rob Bradley (70). The group finished 54 holes at 13-under-par 203.
 

Final scores from the Southern Open