Colbert Holds Off Eastwood to Gain Two-Stroke Victory

TIMES STAFF WRITER

For much of Sunday's final round of the Toshiba Senior Classic, it appeared Jim Colbert's first victory in California was going to be a runaway.

But Colbert, who led his closest competitor by seven strokes after nine holes, got a bit of a challenge from Senior PGA Tour rookie Bob Eastwood late, before holding on for a two-stroke victory at Newport Beach Country Club and $150,000.

Colbert made his first and only two bogeys of the tournament Sunday, otherwise he played the solid golf necessary to maintain the five-shot lead he held at the start of the day.

Eastwood, however, was closing fast. Six down at the beginning of the round and eight back after nine, he made three birdies and an eagle to get to nine-under and hit his tee shot on the 185-yard, par-three 17th to within five feet.

Colbert, who had just finished bogeying the 16th to fall back to 12-under, said he didn't realize his lead was shrinking until he walked onto the 17th tee.

"I was trying not to go flat," Colbert said. "I was really trying to focus. Then all of a sudden I was standing at 17, and I see nine-under and thought, 'Nine, where did that come from?' "

From the tee at 17, Colbert and playing partners Lee Trevino and George Archer had a perfect view of the green across the lake below them. Even so, Colbert said he was unaware Eastwood's putt could have cut his lead to two.

"These California crowds are a little too laid-back," Colbert said. "I would have thought they'd of knocked us off the 16th green with cheers if somebody nine-under hit it that close.

"Hell, we never heard any hollering or screaming, so Trevino and I convinced ourselves it was for par."

When Eastwood's putt hit the lip, any further drama was nipped in the bud. Eastwood's birdie on the par-five 18th and Colbert's easy par wrapped up the tournament.

Eastwood shot seven-under 64 for the day, the low round of the tournament, and won $88,000 for second place. Hale Irwin shot 66, finishing eight-under and taking home $72,000 for third. Trevino (69) and Jack Kiefer (68) tied for fourth at six-under.

Eastwood, playing in his third senior event, said he is still struggling with his game and didn't start the day expecting to go after Colbert.

"He doesn't make a lot of mistakes," Eastwood said, "but you never know in this game, and the greens are a little spooky this week."

Colbert was one of the few players not spooked by the greens during the tournament. While many were complaining the greens were bumpy and tricky, Colbert was rolling in putts.

Colbert, who birdied four of the first five holes Saturday, started well again Sunday, with three birdies on those holes. However, he did make his first major mistake of the tournament when he flew the second green with a seven-iron. He chipped back on and two-putted for his first bogey.

Birdies on four and five--including his third of the tournament on the tough 430-yard, par-four No. 5--more than made up for the error. Then he saved par with an eight-foot putt on No. 6, after Archer made a 25-footer for a birdie that cut Colbert's lead to six.

"If there was a putt I felt like I needed to make, it was that one," said Colbert, who finished three-under 68 for the day.

He knocked a five-iron to five feet on the 407-yard, par-four No. 9 and made the putt. Archer bogeyed the hole and Colbert's lead was seven. It proved to be more than enough, despite Eastwood's charge.

"What the heck did Eastwood shoot anyway?" Colbert asked afterward. "Sixty-four? That's a hell of a round, but he was too far behind, because I was three-under. If I'm not three-under, we would've had a dogfight."

Colbert played aggressively the rest of the way, making one birdie and the bogey on the 437-yard No. 16. He said he might be playing better than he did last year when he won four tournaments and was the senior tour's leading money-winner at $1.4 million.

Friday, after shooting 68, Colbert hinted that he expected to make a run at his elusive first victory in the state--on either tour. Since he turned professional in 1965, he figures he played more than 100 events on the regular tour and about 30 on the senior circuit.

The Golden State shutout was starting to stick in his craw.

"I had to get that monkey off my back," Colbert said, "even though no one knew about it until I started talking. Sometimes you have to put the pressure on yourself.

"That's my version of being Muhammad Ali."

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By the Numbers: FINAL-ROUND SCORES

Jim Colbert: 68-65-68--201

Bob Eastwood: 71-68-64--203

Hale Irwin: 72-67-66--205

Jack Kiefer: 70-69-68--207

Lee Trevino: 68-70-69--207

Calvin Peete: 70-70-68--208

Rocky Thompson: 69-70-69--208

Bud Allin: 72-67-69--208

George Archer: 70-68-70--208

Bob Charles: 71-70-68--209

Jim Dent: 69-74-67--210

Gary Player: 71-72-67--210

Larry Ziegler: 69-74-67--210

Frank Conner: 69-72-69--210

Walt Morgan: 70-70-70--210

Al Geiberger: 69-70-71--210

DeWitt Weaver: 70-70-70--210

John Schroeder: 68-71-71--210

Bruce Summerhays: 71-73-67--211

Homero Blancas: 68-75-68--211

Isao Aoki: 71-71-69--211

Larry Laoretti: 69-73-69--211

Rick Acton: 77-70-65--212

Gene Littler: 73-71-68--212

John Paul Cain: 69-71-72--212

Tony Jacklin: 72-72-69--213

Dave Stockton: 70-71-72--213

Larry Gilbert: 75-66-72--213

Gay Brewer: 70-75-69--214

Bruce Crampton: 75-71-68--214

Jimmy Powell: 72-73-69--214

Bob E. Smith: 72-73-69--214

Jay Sigel: 70-74-70--214

Deane Beman: 76-69-69--214

Dave Hill: 73-71-70--214

Dick Rhyan: 74-70-70--214

Dick Hendrickson: 73-70-71--214

Tom Shaw: 72-70-72--214

Bob Murphy: 68-72-74--214

Mike Hill: 72-77-66--215

Tommy Aaron: 72-75-68--215

Jim Albus: 70-72-73--215

Bobby Stroble: 71-70-74--215

Dale Douglass: 73-73-70--216

Terry Dill: 74-72-70--216

Don Bies: 74-72-70--216

Brian Barnes: 75-70-71--216

Miller Barber: 73-72-71--216

Bob Irving: 71-72-73--216

Gibby Gilbert: 74-72-71--217

James B Marshall: 73-72-72--217

J.C.Snead: 72-73-72--217

Jerry McGee: 71-73-73--217

Larry Mowry: 69-74-74--217

John Jacobs: 71-72-75--218

Rives McBee: 75-70-74--219

Harold Henning: 74-70-75--219

Walter Zembriski: 76-75-69--220

Masaru Amano: 77-72-71--220

Butch Baird: 72-75-73--220

Don Massengale: 75-72-73--220

Simon Hobday: 78-69-73--220

Orville Moody: 72-73-75--220

John Brodie: 73-79-69--221

Jim Wilkinson: 77-71-74--222

Charles Coody: 74-75-74--223

Ken Still: 75-72-76--223

Steve Spray: 74-72-77--223

Dick McClean: 77-74-73--224

Jimmy Adams: 76-73-75--224

Chi Chi Rodriguez: 71-82-72--225

Mike Harper: 78-74-73--225

Dave Eichelberger: 76-75-76--227

Ben Smith: 77-77-74--228

Lee Elder: 79-77-74--230

Bunky Henry: 74-84-74--232

Lou Graham: 77-81-76--234

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