Dana Quigley is the Senior PGA Tour's ironman, but it's not because he enjoys playing in hot weather. Yesterday, in his 58th consecutive Senior PGA Tour event, Quigley shot a 68 to finish third at 9-under-par 207 in the State Farm Senior Classic.

"Believe me, I could play another 18 holes today, honest to goodness," Quigley said. "I walked every inch of the way today. I walked all three rounds. I love the heat. I usually play better when it's hot."

Proving that sticky weather has no effect on his golf game, Quigley shot his best round of the tournament yesterday in what was the hottest and most humid day of the event, finishing with six birdies and two bogeys.

That gave him his 11th top 10 finish this year. He ranked eighth on the money list entering the tournament with $638,144 in earnings, despite not having won a tournament this season. His best finish was second place at the Bruno's Memorial Classic in May. He also tied for third at the Royal Caribbean Classic in February. Last year, he won the Emerald Coast Classic and Raley's Gold Rush Classic.

"You'll not find me complaining because I haven't won yet [this year]," said Quigley, who spent 15 years as a club pro before joining the senior tour when he turned 50. "I'm knocking on the door. That's all I can do."

Last year, Quigley tied Bruce Summerhays's all-time record for most rounds in a year with 119. He played all 38 events last year and has not missed an event this year. The State Farm Senior Classic was his 20th tournament in 1999.

"I knew once I got out here [on the senior tour] and if I got to be an exempt player, they would never keep me out of a tournament," Quigley said. "I just love to play golf that much."

Gibson, Loving It

Fred Gibson, the Washington native and graduate of Bladensburg High School, made birdies on his final two holes for a 1-under 71. He finished tied for fifth place at 7-under 209.

"I'm playing well," Gibson said. "It's good to play well at home. All the family [here], you want to do well. They don't care how well you do. They still love you."

Touch o' the Irish

With Irishman Christy O'Connor leading the field, yesterday felt more like St. Patrick's Day than Independence Day at the State Farm Senior Classic. Irish and shamrock flags dotted the course.

Although there were no known Irish natives following O'Connor throughout the tournament, he did have two loyal Scotsmen who claimed O'Connor as their own. John Dorrian and George Williamson, who are in the United States to coach soccer, followed O'Connor throughout the three-day tournament. O'Connor noticed their Scottish accents and rewarded their devotion with complimentary tickets to yesterday's round. . . .

In honor of Independence Day, tournament officials handed out American flags to spectators on the 18th green.

Maryland's Thiess Wins

Maryland golfer Debbie Thiess won the gold medal at the Special Olympics World Summer games at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C. Thiess, a 44-year-old from Dundalk, shot 274 for the four-round tournament, bettering her competition by 19 strokes in Level 3. Proceeds from the State Farm Senior Classic funded the Team Maryland golf delegation to the Special Olympics World Summer Games.