In the minds of the men he beat, Curtis Strange did more than win a golf tournament on Sunday: he took another big step toward becoming the best player in the world.
"Absolutely, he's the best in the world right now," veteran Hale Irwin said after Strange had scored a two-shot victory in the Memorial tournament at Dublin, Ohio, his second of the season and fifth in less than 12 months."I said two years ago he's among the best, certainly in the top three," said South African David Frost.
Then he reconsidered.
"Right now, I'd say it's a toss-up between Curtis and (Greg) Norman," Frost amended.
Frost and Irwin tied for second, only because the 42-year-old Irwin chipped in from 30 feet for birdie on the final hole at Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village Golf Club course.
"I guess fate was with me and against David," said Irwin, who led throughout the second and third rounds.
Second, he said, was pleasing. Not satisfying, but pleasing.
"But," he shrugged, "we ran into a buzzsaw. He played the last two rounds 64, 67. That's 131 (and matches the course record). On this golf course. If we'd known anyone was going to do that, we'd all have been playing for second," Irwin said.
Strange twice came from one shot back - once trailing Irwin, once trailing Frost - with his 5-under-par 67 and acquired the 14th victory of his 12-season PGA Tour career with a 274 total, 14 under par.
Strange, the tour's leading money-winner in 1985 and '87, took command with a bunker shot that set up a 2-foot putt for birdie-4 on the 15th.
He wasn't headed again.
The victory was worth $160,000 from the total purse of $1 million and boosted Strange's earnings for the year to $362,965.
Irwin had a closing 70 and, with his 18th-hole heroics, tied Frost, who shot 69, at 276.
Rookie John Huston and Andrew Magee tied for fourth at 282, six shots back of the runners-up. Huston shot 71 over the final 18 holes and Magee a 74.
The group at 283 included Jay Haas, Lanny Wadkins, Peter Jacobsen, Greg Norman, Scott Hoch and Payne Stewart. Haas and Wadkins each had a 67. Jacobsen shot 69, Norman 71, Hoch 72 and Stewart 75.
Strange, now the winner of five tournaments in less than 12 months, was one shot back at the start of the day's play, but got a share of the lead when Irwin bogeyed the first hole.
Frost went in front with consecutive birdies on the ninth, 10th and 11th, but Strange caught him with a 10-12 foot birdie putt on the 12th.
At Corning, N.Y., Sherri Turner shot a 2-under-par 70 to post her second LPGA tournament victory in as many weeks, holding off South Korea's Ok-hee Ku to win the $325,000 Corning Classic.
Turner finished with a 15-under 273 over the four rounds of the tournament, beating Ku, who shot a 71 Sunday, by two strokes and 1984 winner Jo Anne Carner, who tied for second place with a final 6-under 66.
Turner, who last week birdied the final two holes to win the Mazda Ladies Professional Golf Tournament for her first career LPGA triumph, birdied the fifth, 10th, 12th, 14th and 16th holes Sunday to clinch the $48,750 winner's purse.
Carner blazed into the tie for second place with seven birdies and a bogey. She shot a 65 on Saturday.
In fourth place was Patty Sheehan at 9-under. Jerlyn Britz finished at 8-under, followed by Martha Foyer at 6-under-par. Sally Quinlan, Katherine Young, and Mei-Chi Cheng of Taiwan tied at 5-under par.
At Albuquerque, N.M., Bob Charles chipped in from the back fringe of the green on the final hole for a 3-under-par 69 and a two-shot victory over Orville Moody in the $275,000 Sunwest Bank Senior PGA Tour golf tournament.
Charles, the defending champion in the event, became the first back-to-back winner this year on the Senior Tour with a pair of clutch 35-foot birdies down the stretch.
Charles, who earned $41,250 with the win, opened up a two-shot lead on Moody when he holed a 35-foot putt from the fringe on the par-4 16th hole.
Moody, the second-round leader who began the final round a shot up on Charles, finished with an even-par 72 and was in the chase until Charles' final birdie.
Charles finished the 54-hole tournament at 10-under 206. Moody, who missed his academic birdie attempt, settled for par for a 208 total.
Rafe Botts, a second-year Senior Tour member from Washington, D.C., joined veteran Don Bies in a tie for third, six shots back of Charles. Botts had a final round 69 and Bies a 71.
Jimmy Powell, of San Dimas, Calif., made a hole-in-one on the 151-yard, sixth hole.
At Wentworth, England, Spain's Severiano Ballesteros finished with two birdies Sunday for a 1-under-par 71 and took the lead by one stroke after the third round of the $561,000 Volvo PGA tournament.
Ballesteros, who began the day in third place, has a three-day total of 206. Bernhard Langer of West Germany, the defending champion and leader after the first two rounds this year, shot a 74 to fall into a five-way tie for second place at 207.
Langer, who began the day 11-under par, blamed a last-minute change of putter for his slump. "It was the worst decision I ever made," said Langer, who upon approaching the first tee after a turn on the practice green, had instructed his caddie to bring another putter.
"That club will definitely go in the trash. The ball just didn't roll when it came off the club."
Also tied for second place are South African Jeff Hawkes, Jose Maria Canizares of Spain, Ian Woosnam of Wales and Zimbabwe's Mark McNulty.