It didn't take long for John Mahaffey to determine he had his work cut out for him.
"I shoot 32 at him over the front nine and lose ground. That kind of tells you it might be his day." Mahaffey said.
It was the day Bob Gilder had been waiting for. It was a day that was almost six years in coming, but Gilder had never doubted it would arrive.
"After the (U.S.) Open and the PGA, after I played so well in those tournaments, I knew it was just a matter of time before I won again," Gilder said after a two-shot victory last weekend in the Kapalua International in Kapalua, Hawaii.
It marked the first American triumph since the 1983 Phoenix Open for Gilder, who went into a decline in 1984 and didn't emerge until his strong performances this year _ sixth in the U.S. Open and eighth in the PGA.
"Those two tournaments meant a lot to me. The way I played in those two showed me that I belonged out here again," Gilder said.
The comeback was completed in the warm, windy weather at Kapalua where Gilder produced a front-running final round of 66 to win with a 266 total, a distant 22 under par.
Although it was earned in an unofficial event on the PGA Tour, the $150,000 first prize represented the biggest check of Gilder's 13-year career, more than doubled his earnings for the year and was more than he'd won in any season since 1982.
"Bob deserved to win it," said Mahaffey.
*** And at Key Biscayne, Fla., Lee Elder completed his recovery from a heart attack last year by firing a 6-under-par 65 to win the $300,000 Senior PGA Tour event at the Links of Key Biscayne.