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Allen wins St. Patrick's again

A new champion. Surely that's what everyone had to figure would be crowned after Denny Allen opened play in the 35th annual St. Patrick's Invitational with a 79.

But there would be nothing new about this year's tournament at Inverness Golf and Country Club. As he proved last year, as long as Allen has club in hand and there's some golf left to play, the tournament is his.

So it was Sunday when Pine Ridge's Allen capped a remarkable comeback by rallying from three strokes down to capture his fourth title in the event.

Drama? Hardly. Allen won by four strokes, shooting an even-par 72 as the golfers he chased wilted down the stretch.

Allen was chasing former champions. Citrus Springs' Dave Blackshear, the 1994 champion, was the first-day leader after shooting 1-under 71. He hung on to that advantage after a 76 on Saturday.

Ocala's Randy Briggs, the champ in '81 and '94, struggled on day one with a 76 but a 72 Saturday drew him within a stroke of Blackshear.

And then there was Allen, who shaved five strokes off Blackshear's first-day lead and trailed by just three heading into the final round.

Blackshear stumbled Sunday, shooting an 80 to finish at 227 and in fourth place for the tournament. Briggs shot a 78. Allen surprisingly took the lead and just pulled away, finishing with a 79-71-72_222.

Werner shot a 77 to finish third. Three-time Inverness club champion Tom Hendrick (77 Sunday, 227 total) was fifth.

In flighted action, Patrick Fitzpatrick, the son of the tournament's founder, led for two days in the first flight before giving way to another Irishman, Kelly Brady. Brady had the best round of anyone Sunday, shooting a 70 to finish at 218. Fitzpatrick was at 227.

In the second flight, Dan Wilson won with a 241, followed by Jerry Walker (244) and Clark Smith (245).

In the third flight, Joe Wingertek (243) won followed by Paul Howard (245) and David McKean (246).

John Falwell, who finished with a 247, was the fourth flight winner by five strokes over Bruce Doty, Jim Hausemann and Tom Kinehoffer.

Because of rain on Friday, flights 5-9 were limited to just two rounds. In the fifth flight, Michael Boulais (161) posted an eight-stroke win over Ben Brown.

In the sixth flight, George McGill slipped past Greg Granielo 172-173, with Tony LaChance shooting a 178 for third.

Arthur Carrillo was an easy winner in the seventh flight with a 170, nine better than Alton Hutchinson and 12 better than George Krauss.

Dan Dickerson edged James Martone 177-178 in the eighth flight, with Mike Gedgordas a distant third at 187.

And in the ninth flight, Bill Miles took the win over Tom Stringer and Frank Spallane.