Sunday, September 17, 2000

Kroger Classic notebook


Nelson was just looking to get close

By John Erardi
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MASON — Larry Nelson said being in the lead by a stroke going into today's final round of the Kroger Senior Classic was a lot more than he had bargained for going into Saturday.

        “I was four shots back going into the round, and all I was hoping for was to get somewhere within two to three shots,” he said. “I just wanted to have a chance to win (today).”

        Nelson, who is one of the best players at this event — evidenced not only by his being No.2 on the senior money list, but because he manages his game so well — said he's been having an excellent run the past two to three weeks.

        “My swing's remained pretty constant and my concentration has improved, so that's helping me to get the most out of my game,” he said.

        And so is his putter, which regained some of the magic it spun during his much-ballyhooed 58 in Thurday's pro-am.

        He saw and liked a new “TearDrop” putter model before Thursday's round and had the company-rep tailor it to his needs, by shortening the shaft by an inch and then reassemble it.

        “It's a cross between the putter I used to win the U.S. Open with in 1981 and the PGA in 1983, and one of the putters I've been using for most of the last year,” Nelson said. “That's a pretty good combination.”

        Nelson said the putter has helped him with hitting the ball at the proper speed. His reading of the greens has been consistent.

        Nelson is one of the best former PGA Tour players out here. Besides his three majors, he finished second on the money list to Tom Watson in 1979 and finished in the Top Ten four other times.

        COURSE CRITIQUE: Gil Morgan wasn't happy with the consistency of the firmness of the greens during Saturday's round.

        “I think they let the golf course get away from them a little bit,” Morgan said, noting the ball was bouncing off the green on some approaches, and other times he'd try to come up short and wind up hitting a soft spot.

        “It looked like the golf course was drying out, burning, getting kind of crusty looking, especially around the hole,” he said. “And I wasn't playing on top of that, so it was a double hit.'

        Of course, he admits his own play wasn't helping matters.

        “I made some bad swings out there, hit two or three bad drives, and that just compounds the problem,” Morgan said.

        Considering those woes, his 69 was actually a good score.

        Hubert Green, who shot a 70, liked the course.

        “The course played fast and firm,” he said. “It was set up (fairly). I loved it.”

        He wishes more of the senior courses would be this firm.

        SUPER SENIORS: Terry Dill won the Georgia-Pacific “Super Seniors” competition by shooting 67-72, 139. It's a two-day tournament within a three-day tournament for the golfers who are 60-and-over.

       



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