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No complaints from Dent after tie for 2nd

Jim Dent, who tied for second with Doug Tewell in yesterday's Constellation Energy Classic, ordered a set of Callaway clubs and finally got them late last week, simply wishing to produce some decent play during a season in which he was 68th on the money list.

That modest goal yielded $120,000 and a significant increase in confidence over the weekend as the 64-year-old Champions Tour veteran stayed in the hunt most of the way before ending up at 209, two shots back of winner Larry Nelson.

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"I expected a decent showing," said Dent, who hadn't placed that high since losing another duel with Nelson, "but I wasn't looking for second."

After shooting a 7-under-par 65 on Saturday at Hayfields Country Club - the lowest single-round score of the tournament - he wasn't able to do it again yesterday, ending with a 71.

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His miss on a short putt on the par-3 11th hole gave him a bogey and left him four shots behind Tewell, the leader at the time, and the general placement of Dent's drives in the rough made it difficult for him to do much beyond saving par on most holes. "I had to fight too much, but I never gave up," he said.

Indeed, he rallied to birdie the 16th hole. Unfortunately for him, Nelson birdied that same hole and combined that with steady play to win the title.

Dent said his new clubs helped him and that the efforts he produced over the weekend can have an invigorating effect as the season winds to a close.

"I haven't been in this position in a long time," Dent said. "But it's been good to be in this fight. It gets your blood pumping and you feel like you can play again."

Larger crowds attended the final round, enticed by sunny skies and temperatures near 80 degrees. That was in marked contrast with the first two days when heavy rain - which briefly stopped play on Saturday afternoon - and fall-like temperatures combined to produce sparse galleries.

"The players were able to play their game and people were able to come out and have a good time," tournament director Joe Rotellini said.

Reiterates support

Mayo A. Shattuck III, president of Constellation Energy Group - the event's title sponsor - said he anticipated that the company's support of the event would continue beyond the two-year contract that runs through 2004.

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Constellation is in its first year sponsoring the Champions Tour event in the Baltimore area. Last year, Hayfields played host to the Greater Baltimore Classic. In previous years, Hobbits Glen in Columbia played host to the State Farm Classic.

Though Constellation is locked in for next year, the general expectation is that PGA sponsors extend their support beyond two years.

"These are four-year commitments and that's our intention." Shattuck said.

Chip shots

Former European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance, who shot a 2-over 74 in the first round, rebounded with consecutive 68s to finish tied for fourth and pick up $73,500. ... John Mahaffey, 14-over after two rounds, withdrew before the final round because of a back injury. ... The tournament's scoring average was higher than in last year's event, 73.169 to 71.584.


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