Twitty Takes Top Honors at Q-School

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Howard Twitty fired a 4-under-par 68 in Friday's final round to capture medalist honors at the 2001 Senior Tour National Qualifying Tournament at the Champions Course at the PGA of Southern California Golf Club. The 52-year-old Twitty posted a 72-hole total of 12-under 276 to finish three shots ahead of Larry Ziegler.
 
Twitty shot a 67 to grab a share of the third-round lead with Australian Rodger Davis, who had sole possession of the top spot after two rounds. After tallying five birdies and a bogey on the front side Friday, Twitty shot even-par on the inward nine and held on for the $42,000 first prize.
 
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'I played pretty good again today and it feels good to be the medalist,' said Twitty, who was making his third appearance at Senior Tour Q-School after tying for sixth in 1998 and second in 1999.
 
Twitty, who had one win in each the 1970s, '80s and '90s while on the PGA Tour, recorded three top-10 showings on the elder circuit in 2001 to finish 44th on the money list with $431,932 in earnings.
 
'Finishing in the top eight will allow me to arrange my schedule for the year and that was the primary reason I came here,' he added. 'I was really pleased how I played this week, especially playing under the gun as we did.'
 
The top eight finishers this week -- Twitty, Ziegler, Davis, Jack Spradlin, Daniel O'Neill, Don Pooley, Mike Smith and Dick Mast -- received full playing privileges for the 2002 Senior Tour season.
 
Although Smith and Mast ended the four rounds tied with five others at 4-under 284, they took the seventh and eighth spots after a playoff. Smith birdied the first extra hole and Mast the second to join the players with fully-exempt status for next year.
 
The players who finished ninth to 16th -- R.W. Eaks, Butch Sheehan, Fred Gibson, Bill Brask, Clyde Hughey, David Eger, Mark Pfeil and Doug Johnson -- will be conditionally exempt. Since ninth-place R.W. Eaks and 14th-place David Eger won't turn the required age of 50 until next spring, Danny Edwards and Steve Stull, who finished 17th and 18th, respectively, will play in their places to start the 2002 season.
 
Among those to lose their playing cards were Senior Tour veterans Ted Goin, Jim Holtgrieve, David Lundstrom, Mark Hayes, Kurt Cox, Frank Conner, Tom McGinnis and Jesse Patino.
 
Finishing one stroke out of the final spot was Bill Thorpe, brother of four-time Senior Tour winner Jim Thorpe. Thom Piscopink, who grabbed the first-round lead with a 66, shot 78-78-70 over the last three days to tie for 40th.