Irwin Wins Senior Match Play

A person identified by U.S. military personnel as ABC anchorman Bob Woodruff is carried on a stretcher from a bus to a C-17 Globemaster medical evacuation plane at Ramstein airbase, southern Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006 to be brought to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were seriously injured in a roadside blast near Baghdad two days earlier.
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Hale Irwin won his third tournament in eight days Sunday, crushing Senior PGA Tour rival Gil Morgan 6 and 5 in the finals of the inaugural Senior Match Play Challenge.

Irwin, who defeated David Graham 6 and 4 in the morning semifinals, earned $240,000 for the win at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert.

Earlier in the week, he had won the Senior Tour Championship and was a member of the winning senior tour team in the Wendy's Three-Tour Challenge. Irwin's eight-day earnings reached $687,000.

"If there was ever a day to save your best, this was it," Irwin said. "My timing was perfect."

In his 27 holes Sunday, 14 against Graham and 13 against Morgan, Irwin made 12 birdies and one eagle. Twice he didn't have to finish a hole, as Graham and Morgan each conceded a hole before reaching the green.

"I didn't play very well and Hale played well," said Morgan, who earned $120,000. "I anticipated he'd play well. I thought he might be keyed up for it."

Irwin and Morgan swapped wins on the first two holes of the finals, but Irwin eagled the par-5 third to take the lead for good. Morgan tried to force a second shot onto the green of the par-5 sixth and instead found a lake, leading to an Irwin win.

Irwin won the seventh with a short birdie putt, then made a 20-footer for another birdie and a win on the ninth for a four-hole lead.

Irwin quickly closed out the match on the back nine, winning the par-4 11th when Morgan failed to match Irwin's birdie and the par-5 12th when Morgan took a non-playable lie in the nearby desert and couldn't reach the green in 4.

The duo, who combined for 13 senior wins and just over $5 million in earnings this year, halved the 13th hole to clinch the win for Irwin.

Morgan advanced to the finals with a 7 and 5 rout of Bob Charles in the morning. Charles failed to make a birdie in the match.

Both Charles and Graham earned $60,000 for reaching the semifinals.

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