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Morgan is senior tour's unspectacular standout

It's happening to Gil Morgan again.

Morgan was a solid shotmaker who regularly cashed big paychecks during two decades on the PGA Tour. Yet his seven tour victories and more than $5-million in career earnings were often overshadowed by stars like Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson or Greg Norman.

Now, while Morgan has won more than $1.8-million on the Senior PGA Tour this year, he's still chasing Hale Irwin's record-tying nine victories and unprecedented single-season winnings of more than $2-million.

"Hale has had a spectacular year," Morgan said Wednesday, a day before the start of the Senior Tour Championships at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club. "I don't know whether you can eclipse that aspect."

Irwin can set a senior tour record with his 10th victory this year. He tied Peter Thomson's 12-year-old win mark at the Kaanapali Classic in October.

During Wednesday's pro-am, Irwin's chance at history had TV cameras and fans scrambling to follow him.

Morgan was basically left alone on the putting green and the driving range, checking yardage and refining his swing for the $328,000 first prize. That's the way it has gone for Morgan, who said he isn't upset about being overlooked.

"It obviously is fun to win and the rewards of winning have been very nice," he said.

Said Irwin: "My year has been awesome, an absolute dream come true. But I don't want to let Gil Morgan's year go unnoticed."

SENIOR OPEN SITES: Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., and Inverness Country Club in Toledo, Ohio, reached oral agreements with the United States Golf Association to host U.S. Senior Opens.

Caves Valley will be the site of the 2002 tournament, and Inverness will get the 2003 tournament. The USGA said formal agreements are expected soon.