2002: Gilder tops Bland for 3rd title of year

West Des Moines, Iowa

Bob Gilder won six times in a 24-year career on the PGA Tour/Buy.com Tour. A 4-foot par putt on the 18th hole at the Allianz Championship Sept. 1 gave Gilder his third Senior PGA Tour title this year and fifth in two years.

“It’s hard to explain and hard to believe myself even right now that I’ve won three this year,” said Gilder, who earned $277,500 and moved to No. 2 on the money list at $1,701,709. “I felt good coming into this tournament. Somehow, I’ve been able to focus on the job I need to do and not what everybody else is doing.”

Gilder shot 67 Sunday for a 13-under 200 total to top John Bland by one shot. Bland, the second-round leader, shot 70.

Gilder, whose other victories in 2002 came in back-to-back playoffs at the SBC Senior Open and the FleetBoston Classic in July, needed to make the par putt at 18 to avoid extra holes.

“It was a straight-in putt, and I was feeling really good on those all day long,” Gilder said. “I felt like I was going to make it.”

Bland was trying to earn his first victory since winning four times in 1996. A tournament-record 63 Saturday, including a hole-in-one at No. 16, gave Bland a two-shot lead over Gilder heading into the final round.

“It’s always difficult to get yourself back up after a round like that,” Bland said. “I think if you look at it, guys who shot 63, 62, 61, very seldom come back with 70 the next round. It takes a lot out of you.”

Gilder and Bland were tied at 13 under after Bland’s 6-foot birdie on the 549-yard, par-5 hole. Both parred the 170-yard 16th. At 17, Bland’s second shot found the rough right of the green. He chipped to 12 feet and two-putted for bogey. Gilder hit his second shot from the right rough to 18 feet and two-putted for par. Both parred 18.

“John’s a competitor. He’s a tiger,” Gilder said. “I’m just glad I was able to hang with him to the end.”

– From staff and wire reports

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