Pooley claims surprise win at Seniors Open
BY Bruce Young | Champions Tour | 2002 US Senior Open | Wrap | 01 Jul 2002
Don Pooley is one of those golfers we may have heard of over the years but hardly the sort of player who would have seemed likely to win the US Seniors Open at his first start. He joined the Seniors Tour in September of last year and had four top tens in the seven starts available to him before he was forced to go through the tour school in November.
He finished sixth there gaining one of only eight fully exempt cards available. This year he has played well with three top tens in 14 starts but it was hardly the stuff that suggested that a win of this magnitude was just around the corner.
Pooley played worldwide in the seventies before joining the US Tour in 1980 and won twice on that tour including the Memorial in 1987. He is a great putter, Pooley, having led the US Tour in putting on several occasions. He is still one of the better putters on this tour and seems in for a very successful career here. Certainly winning here has taken him to 13th on the money list and no fears of losing his card for some time.
He beat Tom Watson in a playoff that lasted five holes before Pooley was able to edge out his more illustrious rival with a birdie putt of ten feet. Pooley, courtesy of a third round 63, had taken a three shot lead over Watson and Walter Hall into round four. That lead was extended to four over Watson by the time he reached the turn. Watson, however, stormed home with a last nine of 31 to grab Pooley who to his credit had held on well, and so the playoff.
Tom Kite was third three shots back with Ed Dougherty in fourth one further back. The surprises of the week were Hale Irwin, who recovered from a slow start to finish 11th but many were expecting more, and Bruce Fleisher the defending champion who missed the cut.
Stewart Ginn was the leading Australian in 18th spot, Graham Marsh 30th, David Graham 31st, Ian Stanley 53rd and Noel Ratcliffe 57th.