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STOCKTON NO LONGER HUMDRUM

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Dave Stockton feels he has turned a humdrum year around.

Stockton, the U.S. Senior Open champion, rallied from four strokes back and survived a bogey on the final hole Sunday to win the Senior PGA Tour's First of America Classic at Egypt Valley Country Club."I felt that I was going to be around at the end," said Stockton, whose final round, 3-under 69 featured five birdies and two bogeys.

"I played within myself. This has been a great six-week run for me and all without my excellent putting. I know I can get the putting the way I want it, though."

In the last six weeks, Stockton has won the Senior Open, finished tied for eighth in the Senior Players Championship, tied for fifth in the Burnet Senior Classic, was tied for 12th in the Ameritech Senior Open, finished tied for third in the VFW Senior Championship and won the First of America Classic.

Stockton, who collected $127,500 for the victory, opened Sunday's final round four strokes behind Bobby Stroble, but wound up one stroke ahead of Bob Murphy and two strokes ahead of Tom Wargo and 1995 First of America champion Jimmy Powell.

Stockton, 54, finished the 54-hole event at 10-under (206). The victory moved Stockton into fifth place on the Senior Tour's all-time money list with more than $5.4 million in winnings.

"With the exception of an errant iron on 12, everything I hit went right at the pin," Stockton said. "I felt great that everything was coming out just the way I wanted it to."

Stockton, who considers golf to be 80 percent mental, changed his attitude toward the final round after being fortunate to par the 423-yard, par-4 10th hole.

"My goal was to come out today and play like the U.S. Senior Open champion," Stockton said. "Not too many in the field can say that. I still didn't feel like I was firing on all cylinders, but I had a good attitude this week. If my mental side is working, I'll beat anybody."

Stroble, who opened the final round at 11-under posted a 4-over 76 in the final round.

Murphy managed to close within one stroke of the lead with a 68.