2004: Morgan earns 3rd SBC title

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Santa Clarita, Calif.

Gil Morgan wasn’t about to let last year’s miscue cost him another SBC Classic.

Morgan, who won this event in 1996 and 1997, shot a final-round 69 for a two-stroke victory March 14 over Larry Nelson at Valencia Country Club. Morgan finished at 14-under 202.

Last year, Morgan bogeyed No. 18 and Tom Purtzer made a 58-foot eagle putt for the title. This year, Nelson eagled the par-5 18th for his third consecutive 68, but this time, Morgan had enough of a lead that it didn’t matter.

“It was a little nerve-racking coming down the stretch after what happened last year,” Morgan said. “When I made that par putt on 15, I thought things would go my way.”

Morgan, who has started 2004 with 15 consecutive rounds of par or better, birdied No. 3 before birdies at Nos. 9-11.

“Those three straight birdies obviously were crucial,” said Morgan, who tied Bob Charles at No. 4 with 23 career Champions Tour victories.

Peter Jacobsen made his Champions Tour debut and contended until a bogey at the par-3 16th dropped him to third.

“I had a ball,” said Jacobsen, who shot 67-71-67. “I love this golf course. It’s not long, but it’s hard to score. The setup was magnificent. I enjoyed it. I came to win, and I thought I played well enough to win.”

Short shots: Joe Inman, who won the SBC from 1998 to 2000, tied a course record with a final-round 64 to tie for fourth. . . . Craig Stadler played the first two holes in 7 under (birdie-birdie-eagle on the par-5 first hole and birdie-birdie-birdie on par-4 second hole). Stadler tied for seventh at 8 under. . . . Rodger Davis withdrew after 12 holes Friday after suffering an allergic reaction. . . . George Archer played his first event since last May (Bruno’s Memorial Classic). It was Archer’s 997th combined career start (PGA and Champions Tour). He finished tied for 63rd. . . . Dana Quigley (T-68) made his 238th consecutive start for which he has been eligible and played his 224th consecutive Champions Tour event. . . . Jim Colbert won the Georgia-Pacific Grand Champions title when he defeated Jay Sigel with par on the first playoff hole.

– Staff and wire reports

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