Blake putters way to 1st PGA Tour victory


SAN DIEGO -- A fit of anger last Monday may have paved the way for Jay Don Blake's first Professional Golfers Association Tour victory yesterday in the Shearson Lehman Brothers Open.

Blake, 32, threw his old putter -- one he had used since his high school days -- into a pond at Palm Springs, Calif., while playing with some friends.

"I don't know what came over me," Blake said. "That's very much out of character for me. I'd just got tired of missing all those short birdie putts, reaching the par-5s in two, then three-putting.

"I was playing with some friends, and we had a few dollars going, and I wasn't making anything. Finally, I missed a short putt on the 17th hole. I just turned around and threw the putter about 30 yards into the middle of a pond."

With that blade putter gone, he went to a back-up Blue Goose putter.

He made two critical birdie putts down the stretch and pulled away to a two-shot victory, the first in five seasons on the PGA Tour for the 1980 National Collegiate Athletic Association champion.

"If I'd still had that old putter, I might have kept on missing putts and messing up and not won today," he said.

Blake won this one -- and gained entry to the Masters, Tournament of Champions and World Series of Golf -- with a 5-under-par 67 in the final round at Torrey Pines and a 268 total, 20-under par.

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