2002: Fleisher ends drought, drinks up RJR victory Clemmons, n.c.

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For Bruce Fleisher, it had been 38 events and 131⁄2 months since a Senior PGA Tour victory.

Fleisher, 53, ended the spell in record fashion at the RJR Championship Sept. 15 at Tanglewood Park’s Championship course. Fleisher shot 67 Sunday to set a Senior Tour 54-hole record at 19-under 191 for his first title since the 2001 U.S. Senior Open.

“I’m drinking wine boys, I’ve earned it,” Fleisher said following the 15th title of his senior career.

Fleisher earned it with a tour record 10-under 60 in the opening round Friday.

“I think a truck could have run over me and it wouldn’t have hurt me. I was kind of walking on air,” said Fleisher, who birdied 10 of his first 14 holes to tie the lowest 18-hole score in Senior Tour history. Isao Aoki (1997 Emerald Coast Classic) and Walter Morgan (this year at the AT&T Canada Senior Open) also have shot 60 on the Senior PGA Tour.

Despite not winning until last week, Fleisher has posted a tour-leading 24 consecutive rounds of par or better.

“I would like to sit here and tell you I haven’t played well, but nobody is going to cry over me being fourth on the money list,” said Fleisher on Friday. (After winning $240,000, he’s now No. 3 with $1,644,666.)

“You know, I’ve had four wonderful years of intense golf. There has been a lot of consistency and it wears on you. I’ve been a little bit more uptight for some reason at times this year. I can’t put my finger on it.

“They say once you’ve won your first, second and third tournaments that it gets easier. It’s not easier. I put pressure on myself that I should win.”

Fleisher shot 64 Saturday to set the tour’s lowest opening 36-hole total at 124, one shot better than the previous mark shared by Aoki (1997) and Morgan (2002).

Irwin, who finished third each of the previous three weeks, shot 14-under 196 to finish second.

“I have no regrets for the week,” said Irwin. “My goodness, I played well enough to win with the exception of that 60 that Bruce shot. If I keep knocking on the door, I’ll get one here soon.”

– Staff and wire reports

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