Crenshaw in the hunt with 'good round' of 68 Course builder, analyst gets confidence boost; Kemper Open notebook

THE BALTIMORE SUN

POTOMAC -- Ben Crenshaw, whose last PGA Tour victory was a memorable one in the 1995 Masters, is in the midst of trying to juggle three separate agendas. Each one is the most important when he is involved with it.

For one of the few times this year, however, he was not only able to concentrate on his golf game, but get something out of it, too, as he recorded 36-3268 in the first round of the Kemper Open at TPC-Avenel yesterday.

It left him as one of six players two shots off the pace of co-leaders Greg Norman and Nick Price.

In 11 events this year, Crenshaw, at 45 in his 25th tour season, has made only three cuts, beginning with the Masters. Earlier, he had missed six in a row. Prior to this round, he had had only five rounds in the 60s, and a 73.75 stroke average.

"I never know what's going to happen," he said of his first Avenel appearance since a tie for 16th in 1991. "I haven't played with much confidence. I've had a few spells, and it's nice to get in a good round," he said during a locker-room conversation.

In addition to his golf, Crenshaw is in the golf course design business and will do about 10 tournaments as a television analyst.

"It's difficult to cut back the design work because I enjoy it so much. I love spending time in the field. As for TV, they will allow me to play in them as well, so I don't think that will get in the way. I just haven't played well."

Tough to come back

Donnie Hammond was the low pro with 66 in Wednesday's pro-am, then started with 38-3775. "It's sometimes hard to come back from a round like that," the Frederick native said.

"I had been playing well the last five [or] six rounds, but that's one of the cruel aspects of golf. Just when you think you've got it, you don't.

"I had been driving so well, too, but my driver let me down. I birdied 13 to get to 1-over, then knocked it over 14. I was looking to get even and, instead, I'm 2-over.

"Then, I miss the last three fairways, and bogey two of [theholes]. The rough is so tough, you have to hit the fairways."

Miscellaneous

"Typical Kemper," said Fred Funk. "I hit it well, didn't putt at all." The former Middle Atlantic PGA standout while an assistant at the University of Maryland GC, started at No. 10, bogeyed four of his first seven holes, and got home with 38-3977. He has missed the cut here the last two years. Rick Schuller, an assistant pro at Chantilly National in Centreville, Va., made 11 straight pars, double-bogeyed the 12th when he hit in the water (he had made triple there last year), and wound up with a missed-green bogey at the last hole for 36-3773. Deane Beman, who grew up in Bethesda and later, as PGA Tour commissioner, played a key role in developing this course, shot 89. In on a sponsor's exemption, he has been rehabbing his left shoulder but encountered trouble with it during the round, and, as he said, "It's tough when you can't hit it very far. Beautiful day -- definitely better than the golf."

Pub Date: 6/06/97

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