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Roberts on a roll, looking toward Tradition

The golfer is second in Tour earnings

Loren Roberts is second in Champions Tour money and playing some of the best golf of his life. So, the 51-year-old Roberts will probably be in line to defend his title at the Jeld-Wen Tradition, Aug. 21-27 at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club.

"It all started with the Jeld-Wen last year," says Roberts of his good play. "For the first two months of the year, I probably had the best ball striking of my career -- I hit it where I aimed it, putted well. If I had been on the regular tour, I could have been competitive as well.

"But I've spent the past four months trying to find out what I did the first two months."

Roberts won three early tournaments, and he has $1.35 million in earnings, just behind leader Jay Haas ($1.38 million). The plus-50 pros are playing in the midst of four majors in six tournaments, this week at the Ford Seniors Players Championship in Dearborn, Mich.

It's money-making time in the majors.

"If you can get into the swing where you're playing well for a month-and-a-half stretch, you could have a great run in all the majors," says Roberts, who finished eighth in the recent U.S. Senior Open in Kansas, a finish that included an 8-under 62 in the third round, the lowest score ever in a USGA-sanctioned U.S. Open event; Allen Doyle won it. "It gets you going, several weeks in a row where you can play high quality golf. That can be really motivating and good for you, if you have your house in order. But it can also work the other way."

The Senior British Open will be held in two weeks at Ayrshire, Scotland.

Roberts had planned to play more PGA Tour events, but he won three Champions Tour events early and felt he had to keep going.

"It looks like it'll be a big race to the end of the year, with Jay leading," he says. "I think it'll be a photo finish."

Roberts says he looks forward to the Tradition, and the challenging Reserve course, with its mid-round tempest of holes Nos. 7 through 11 and the three par-5s in the final four holes. Last year, he made birdie onthree of the final four holes, and caught Dana Quigley when he birdied and Quigley bogeyed the par-4 No. 17. Roberts won it with birdie at 18.

"You can't rest on your laurels at the end," he says. "You have to make at least a couple birdies coming to the house. You have to take advantage of the easy holes."