POTOMAC -- Little by little, the Kemper Open is improving its image.
The Kemper's reputation was tarnished five years ago when Greg Norman suggested, in frustration, that the par-3 ninth hole be blown up. Norman's comment simply wouldn't go away.
But after the 24th annual Kemper yesterday, the tournament and the course received a few kind words.
"Ideal conditions for four straight days," said runner-up Jeff Sluman. "Hitting off the zoysia grass on the fairways is unbelievable. It looks like three strands of grass are holding the ball up."
The attendance of 52,000 yesterday was a Kemper one-day record. It boosted the four-day total to 137,000, also a record by a tidy 4,000.
Last year, winner Billy Andrade played a 28-tournament schedule and made 25 cuts. This year, in the first five tournaments out west, he was excused after the first two rounds four times. "Putting," he says, "it was as if I was hitting the ball with a rake out there. I got straightened out in Florida."
Ted Schulz's 63 Saturday set the course and tournament record, and Brad Bryant established the nine-hole record with his 29 on the front side, also Saturday.
Only two of the 79 competitors playing on the weekend failed to make par (284): Pat McGowan (287) and Karl Kimball (288), who, because of the odd number, had to play alone . . . Jay Delsing, who finished at 278, is the son of former St. Louis Browns centerfielder Jim Delsing.