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Fleisher prevails despite a so-so Sunday showing

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JERICHO, N.Y. — Bruce Fleisher didn't look the guy who just won the Long Island Classic in record fashion.

"Today was not fun," he said Sunday after a 3-under-par 69 gave him a tournament record total of 18-under 198 as he repeated as champion at the Meadow Brook Club. "I won today with my heart, not my game. My game wasn't there. It was difficult."

Fleisher set the course record with a 63 in the opening round, and his 36-hole total of 15-under 129 was another record in the Senior PGA Tour event. His 198 was two strokes better than the record set by Lee Trevino in 1994.

The win was Fleisher's fourth of the year on the tour and the first prize of $225,000 moved him past Hale Irwin and into first place on the money list with $1,837,906 in 21 events. Irwin, who has three wins this year but did not play this week, has earned $1,647,948 in 16 tournaments.

"It was very strange. I played so wonderful all week," he said. "I still had confidence but I was apprehensive, anxious for some reason."

Fleisher started the final round with a three-stroke lead over Allen Doyle, and nobody was able to get closer to him than two strokes despite an off-round that included his first three bogeys of the tournament.

He answered both of his back-nine bogeys with birdies, the last a short putt on the par-5 17th that put him 18 under.

Dana Quigley, the 1997 champion in the tournament sponsored by Lightpath, had a closing 67 and finished at 16-under 200, one stroke in front of Doyle, who had a 69. It was the fifth second-place finish of the year for Quigley, who

has won one tournament.

"On this tour it seems there's always someone better than I am," Quigley said. "I knew it would take a low score to catch Bruce. He's too consistent, doesn't mess up much."

Leonard Thompson had a 67 and was at 202, while Gary McCord, who had a 65, and Jim Thorpe, who had a 69, were another stroke back.

Just like last year, Fleisher led from start to finish. He won seven tournaments as a rookie in 1999, and this was the third time he successfully defended one of those titles. The reigning senior player of the year and money champion passed $6 million in career earnings, more than half coming in his two years as a senior. He won one tournament in his 27 years on the PGA Tour.

"Every week is a new week," he said. "You just have to keep proving yourself over and over again. I gutted it out. I really didn't play that well."

John Deere Classic

At Silvis, Ill., Michael Clark held a one-stroke lead in the final round of the John Deere Classic when foul weather forced players off the course for good Sunday, leaving the tournament up for grabs for one more day.

Uncompleted rounds were scheduled to begin Monday at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Players will begin where they left off Sunday.

Clark finished nine holes at 2-under-par, leaving him at 17-under overall with half the course still to play.

"You always dream of having the lead Sunday night, just not in this situation," he said.

The only leader who finished the round was Steve Lowery, who carded an 8-under-par 63 for an overall final score of 16-under 268.

Tied with Lowery was Kirk Triplett, who led the field going into Sunday but was 2-over after nine holes.

"I was playing crummy today. I had no momentum," Triplett said. "I see this as a blessing. I get a fresh start tomorrow."

PGA officials said 46 players completed their final rounds, leaving 27 on the course — including almost all the leaders. The final pairing, Triplett and David Frost, will start on the 10th tee Monday.

Play was interrupted twice for more than three hours in total. Players stayed on the course for just 17 minutes after the second delay, then were chased into the clubhouse for good by thunder and heavy rain.

Giant Eagle Classic

At Howland, Ohio, Like a lot of teen-agers, Dorothy Delasin's idea of celebrating is to grab a telephone.

"I'm going to call up my friends and say, 'Wazzupp? I've got some news!"' Delasin said.

The news is that the 19-year-old Delasin became the LPGA's youngest winner in 25 years when she birdied the last hole to force a playoff with Pat Hurst, and then beat her with a par on the second extra hole to win the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic on Sunday.

Playing without a sponsor, the Californian sidestepped a half-dozen contenders in the final few holes to pick up her first top-10 finish, let alone her first victory. She is the youngest winner on the tour since Amy Alcott took the Orange Blossom Classic in 1975.

Delasin collected $150,000 — almost $30,000 more than she had picked up in her first 18 tournaments combined.

"This is like a really big stepping stone," she said. "I came from way down here and I just jumped 10 steps."

Her father, Arsenio, caddied for her. After Delasin hit the 3-foot putt to clinch the victory, he held the flagstick over his head and cheered loudly. After hugging Hurst, he wrapped up his daughter in a bear hug and carried her around the green. Her mother, Salfe, was watching from the gallery.

"It's incredible. You're sharing your moment with your family," Delasin said.

Hurst, seeking her second win of the year, barely missed her 10-foot par putt — catching the lip as the ball sped past on the left side on the decisive hole. She had found trouble in the right rough off the tee, then put her approach into the rough fronting the par-4 hole. Her chip came up short, setting up the touchy putt for par.

"I had lost in two other playoffs, so I thought this might be the one — the third one would be a charm," Hurst said.

Hurst, who has won three times including a major, said there's something magical about winning for the first time.

"My first win was a little different. I made probably a 25-footer on the last hole to beat Juli Inkster," she said. "I'll never forget that, just like I'm sure she'll never forget the 2 1/2- or 3-footer she hit to win."