Levy shoots 64, leads five players by 1 in L.A. Open

February 28, 1992

LOS ANGELES -- Wayne Levi, playing with new determination after a disappointing campaign last year, shot a 7-under-par 64 yesterday to take the first-round lead in the Nissan Los Angeles Open.

Levi rolled in a 3-foot birdie putt on the final hole to break out of a six-player logjam at the top.

Doug Tewell, Keith Clearwater, Mark Carnevale, Buddy Gardner and Chris Tucker all were one shot off the pace with opening 65s.

Tom Sieckmann was another shot behind with a 66, and Tom Weiskopf, playing more this year as he prepares to turn 50 and join the senior tour in November, was in a group at 67.

One of the most watched players in the tournament, 16-year-old high school sophomore Eldrick "Tiger" Woods, shot a 72 and was back in the pack as he became the youngest golfer ever to play in a PGA Tour event.

Levi, after winning four tournaments and more than $1 million in 1990, failed to win a single event last year, slumping from second to 87th ($195,861) on the money list.

"I've changed my attitude," he said after his fine first round over the par-71 Riviera Country Club course. "I had been kind of slack. I'd play a week, take two weeks off, play a week, take three weeks off. . . . I'm getting too old [40], and these guys out here are too good now for me just to come back and pick it right up like I used to.

"My putting was bad and it's easy to get down on yourself, have a couple of bad holes and just go through the motions the rest of the way. I bet I missed a half-dozen cuts last year by one stroke."

Levi's wife, Judy, helped him get back on the right track.

"She said just play solid and make the cuts. That's what I've been trying to do; I haven't missed a cut all year."

Levi said his irons were the key to his opening round, leaving him with a lot of short birdie putts. He also said his confidence in his putting has been renewed since he began using an old putter he retrieved from his basement.

Tewell, whose victory in the 1986 Los Angeles Open was one of just four wins during his 18 years on the tour, chipped in from 22 feet on No. 18 to finish his round at 6-under.

"When I came up to my approach shot on No. 18, I was thinking that it was the same distance, the same club, even the wind seemed the same, as it was when I hit up on the final day in 1986," Tewell said.

"The only difference was that this time I hit it over the green. But the result was the same, since I chipped in for birdie."

One of the larger galleries of the day followed the young Woods, the star of the Western High School golf team in nearby Anaheim. He shot a 1-over-par 36 on the front nine, with a birdie and two bogeys, and he carded all pars on the back nine.

"Right now, I'm proud of myself because I hit the ball terrible and somehow I still scraped around and shot a 72," said Woods, who was invited to play in the tournament because of his outstanding record as a junior golfer.

Women's Kemper Open

WAILEA, Hawaii -- Cindy Rarick and Deb Richard, who battled each other in a sudden-death playoff for last year's title, were among six players tied for the lead after two rounds.

Rarick, who lost to Richard last year, shot a 7-under-par 65 for a two-day total of 6-under-par 138. Richard was also at 138 after her 5-under 67.

A year ago, Rarick let a four-shot lead slip away in the final round and ended up losing on the second hole a sudden death playoff when Richard made a 6-foot birdie putt.

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