Beman breaks out clubs in visit to Eagle's Nest

May 08, 1994|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Sun Staff Writer

Deane Beman, commissioner of the PGA Tour, was in town one day last week, but the visit had nothing to do with tour business.

Beman, who turned 56 two weeks ago, played a practice round at Eagle's Nest, where he will compete in the local qualifier for the U.S. Open on May 16.

The local qualifier this year will be 18 rather than 36 holes for the first time in many years.

The following sectional event, scheduled for June 6 at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, will be 36 holes as usual.

The field at Woodmont is expected to be large, as it will include many of the non-exempt tour pros who will have been at the Kemper Open, June 2-5.

"I've hardly played at all the last three years," Beman said last week.

"This will be my first individual competition in this country in 20-plus years. I played in an early Legends of Golf [now a two-man team event on the Senior Tour, which concludes today] back before there was a Senior Tour, and there were a couple of instances in Europe, but that's about it."

Beman is exempt from qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open, June 30-July 3, at Pinehurst, N.C., but he said his playing depended upon the state of his game.

As a competitor, Beman, from Bethesda, won the 1959 British Amateur, 1960 and 1963 U.S. Amateurs, and played on four Walker Cup and four World Amateur teams. Among his Walker Cup experiences was playing in the 1965 event at Baltimore CC when the match ended 12-12, the only tie in its history.

Last week, Beman also played on a four-man team representing the TPC-Sawgrass in the third annual National InterClub Invitational at the Robert Trent Jones course in Manassas, Va. The team tied for third one stroke out of a playoff for the title.

The Valderrama CC from Spain defeated Shoal Creek GC on the first extra playoff hole to get the win.

Right chemistry

All is ready, at least as ready as it can get, for the LPGA Championship and its new sponsor, McDonald's, due at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del., this week. The event had been held the past four years at Bethesda CC, but Mazda withdrew its sponsorship after last year's tournament.

A month ago, there was concern about the condition of DuPont course, as it was one of the courses in the Baltimore-Philadelphia corridor hard hit by the icy conditions of last winter.

At the time, course superintendent Earl Shafer called it a "natural disaster," but he said he was confident the course would be ready, despite the big workload and short timetable.

Last week, David English, the club manager, reported that, basically, the tees and fairways have recovered, and all the greens but No. 17, a short par-3 in woods where there is little sunlight.

"With the new grass, the greens will be a little thin [18 temporary greens have been in use this spring], but all have been top-dressed and will have uniform speed. That includes 17 -- it just won't look as nice.

"Barbara Trammell [LPGA tournament official] was in recently, and was pleasantly surprised by what she found." The course has been closed the last few days for final grooming and opens tomorrow for practice rounds.

Tournaments

The Crofton team of Buddy Peoples-Jerry Iorizzo shot 19-under-par 197 and won the recent 45th annual Belle Haven Fourball by six shots over Gill FitzHugh-Marty West III, and Mike Matthews-Tom Haller. The pairing of Bobby Morris-Doug Ballenger was another stroke back at 204.

* LPGA professionals Tina Barrett, Elaine Crosby, Dale Eggeling, Caroline Keggi, and Joan Pitcock are among the celebrities expected for the Preakness Pro-Am, sponsored by the Fantasy Golf Challenge, to be held May 16 at Crofton CC. Information regarding amateur places in the field, as well as tickets, is available from the Preakness Celebration (410) 837-3030.

* The first La Buona Vita, Inc., charity tournament will be held May 18 at Longview Golf Course. Information is available from Mike Gallerizzo (410) 592-3162.

* The latest Kemper Open (June 2-5) commitments include Donnie Hammond and Houston Open winner Mike Heinen plus four other 1994 winners -- Andrew Magee, Bill Glasson, Scott Hoch, and Mike Springer.

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