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Irwin Wins For Third Time This Year
by Associated Press

BLAINE, Minn. (AP) ? Hale Irwin, who lost in playoffs two of the last three weeks, shot a 4-under 68 Sunday and beat Hubert Green by three strokes in the 3M Championship, his tour-leading third senior victory of the year.

The bogey-free final round at the TPC of the Twin Cities gave Green a 12-under 204 total and the first-place check of $262,500. It also ended a five-month victory drought for him on the Senior PGA Tour. His last win was the Toshiba Senior Classic on March 10.

Last week, Irwin lost to Green in a seven-hole playoff - the tour's longest this year - at the Long Island Classic, and he lost to Bob Gilder after one extra hole at the SBC Senior Open.

Irwin extended his lead on the senior money list as he went over $2 million in official earnings for the sixth consecutive season.

Irwin started the day tied with James Mason for the lead at 8 under. They were still tied for the lead through six holes, but two birdies by Irwin as Mason made three bogeys over the next seven holes gave him a five-stroke lead.

Green birdied three of his last four holes for a 67 that let left him at 9-under 207. It was Green's third top-two finish in the last five weeks.

Doug Tewell, the 2001 3M runner-up, shot a 67 Sunday and finished tied with Mason, who had a 72, at 208.

It was Irwin's 35th victory and 67th top-two finish in his eight-year senior career. He's won at least three events in each of the last six seasons.

Minnesota has been especially kind to Irwin. He won this event in 1997 and 1999 on the easier Bunker Hills course in nearby Coon Rapids. He has six consecutive top-three finishes here on two different courses and has broken par in 18 of 20 rounds and is a combined 81 under in seven appearances.

Mason bogeyed Nos. 8, 9 and 13 while Irwin's had birdies on 10 and 12.

Mason, the first-round leader after a course-record 64, was playing in his 17th senior event in two years. He had one previous top-35 finish - a victory at the NFL Golf Classic in June.

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