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Irwin sets Senior PGA Tour record

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Hale Irwin became the Senior PGA Tour's career victory leader Sunday, winning the Siebel Classic for his 30th title on the 50-and-over circuit.

Irwin, who broke a tie with Lee Trevino for the victory lead, shot a 7-under-par 65 to finish five strokes ahead of Tom Watson and Allen Doyle.

The day got off to a delayed start because of fog blanketing the Coyote Creek course but it didn't slow Irwin, who started with a one-stoke lead.

With an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole and five birdies in the round, Irwin finished with a 10-under 206 total.

Doyle, who started the day a stroke off of the lead, had two eagles and two bogeys in a back-and-forth round. In the end, however, he couldn't make up enough ground and settled for a 69 and a 211 total.

Watson opened the 54-hole event with a disappointing 77, but steadily gained ground with 67s on both Saturday and Sunday.

"As for finishing second, it's a heck of a lot better than finishing 20th," Watson said.

Jim Colbert, who won the SBC Senior Classic last weekend in Los Angeles, challenged the leaders but bogeyed two of the final four holes for a 70 and a 214 total.

Jack Nicklaus, who was one stroke back of Irwin along with five others to start the day, shot a 71 to finish at 213. He was the crowd favorite, receiving a warm ovation as he walked up the 18th fairway.

His fourth-place finish was his best on the senior tour since he tied for second in the 1997 PGA Seniors' Championship.

Fast greens and swirling canyon winds had vexed players through the first two rounds on the Nicklaus-designed course, which is bisected by Highway 101.

Irwin's 3-under total after 36 holes was the highest on the senior tour since the 1998 U.S. Senior Open.

But the gusts calmed by Sunday, and the morning fog that caused a two-hour delay to the start of the final round lifted, giving way to sunny skies with temperatures in the comfortable 70s.

Irwin earned his first victory since his daughter gave birth to his first grandchild. The three-time U.S. Open champion has played in just five tournaments this year.

Irwin cut back on his schedule this spring to spend more time in Phoenix with 5-week-old Dylan Spencer Meyer, but he plans to book more dates in the summer.

LPGA-STANDARD REGISTER: At Phoenix, Annika Sorenstam, her birdie touch in hiding most of the way, beat Se Ri Pak with a string of pars — and a strong finish — to win her second straight tournament by two shots over the relentless South Korean.

Pak, who began the round three shots behind, shot 5-under-par 67 to Sorenstam's 68 on Sunday in the LPGA Standard Register.

But Sorenstam opened such a big lead on Friday — when she became the first woman to shoot 59 in a tournament — that she was able to prevail down the stretch with course management and a cool head.

Her second title of 2001 and the 25th of her career capped the best two-week stretch in LPGA history and allowed her to avoid losing a tournament in which she set the low-round record.

Sorenstam, who also has finished second in two other tournaments this year, set a record a week earlier in Tucson when she won at 23-under.

Sorenstam and Webb share the 54-hole record at 23-under.

Dottie Pepper (67) and Yu Ping Lin (70) tied for third at 275, with Dorothy Delasin (68) and Akiko Fukushima (69) at 276.

Webb, who finished with 67-68 after barely making the cut, first-round leader Kris Tschetter and Lorie Kane, a winner last month, were in a group of eight at 277. It was the fifth consecutive top-10 finish for Webb, the 2000 Player of the Year, after a tie for 51st in the season-opening tournament in Orlando, Fla., which Pak won.

The tournament hinged on holes 14-16.

It took Pak 68 holes and nearly four days to catch up to Sorenstam, who was her playing partner last week in Tucson, and then she only had one hole to enjoy it.

Pak tied the Swedish champion at 26-under with a birdie putt on No. 14 after hitting a pitching wedge within 5 feet of the cup.

But on the 177-yard 15th hole, Pak hit a 7-iron over the back of the green into a difficult lie in long rough behind a sprinkler head. Her chip never reached the green, dropping into long fringe and leaving a 15-foot chip for par that became Pak's only bogey.

Sorenstam put on the finishing touches on the next hole with a 17-foot birdie putt that rolled along an upslope and curled in to send her into record territory for a four-day tournament.

She finished with tap-ins for routine pars, including a 2-inch putt on the 17th hole when her birdie attempt from 8 feet stopped at the rim.