Aubrey knocks loudly: 66 for 207

Bogeys on 17, 18 ruin shot at course-record 63

Hammond, Funk shoot 68s

Kemper notebook

May 30, 1999|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

POTOMAC -- Emlyn Aubrey became the latest tour irregular to charge into contention in the Kemper Open when he threatened the course record before settling for a 66 and a 54-hole total of 207 yesterday.

That left him at 6 under par and alone in fourth place behind co-leaders Rich Beem and Tommy Armour III (9 under), and Bill Glasson (7 under).

Aubrey gave some indication of playing better than he had in previous weeks when he opened with a round of 64 in the Byron Nelson tournament in Irving, Texas, two weeks ago.

He went on to shoot three successive 69s and tie for seventh. It was by far his best finish of the year, and worth nearly two-thirds of his $148,000 earnings.

"Something seemed to click at the Nelson, where I had four good rounds. The only problem was I was off last week and had time to think about it." he said.

He opened 71-70 here, then birdied seven of the first 15 holes and began taking aim at the course record of 63. It did not materialize, however, as he bogeyed the 17th and 18th holes when he missed the greens.

"Those last few holes, I was anxious, nervous and my mind was starting to go haywire," he said. "Overall, I'm a little disappointed with the finish, but I know I played well."

He said his play at 17 really burned him, because of bad management. He pulled the wrong club and tried to go for the pin (instead of the middle of the green) on the 195-yard hole. He pulled the shot into the left rough, popped up a sand wedge shot and two-putted from 20 feet.

At 18, his second shot didn't carry the front bunker, and he missed his par putt from 10 feet. "Thinking about 17 really gets me, but I was focused at 18 and hit a good drive. That bogey was not that bad," he said.

Aubrey, 35, who grew up in Reading, Pa., first attracted area attention at 17 when he was the medalist in a U.S. Junior Boys qualifier at Green Spring, whipping the field by 10 shots.

He won a Southeastern Conference title while at Louisiana State and has alternated playing on the regular tour and the Nike tour, depending on the caliber of his qualifying play.

This is his 10th -- and best -- PGA Tour season, and it comes following his second Nike stint last year. There, he earned his player's card with a 13th place (15 made it) in the qualifying event.

Of his position going into today's final round, he said, "I'll have a late time, so I'll have time to wake up and think about it."

A yo-yo round

Donnie Hammond uncorked two nines that went in opposite directions as he shot 68 to move to 2-under 213.

Fred Funk, who also had a 68, saw Hammond after his round and asked how he had done. "Three under," was the answer. When told, "Good round," Hammond responded, "Yeah, 39-29!"

The 29 equals the lowest nine recorded since the tournament moved from Charlotte, N.C., to the Washington area (Congressional CC, 1980-86; Avenel, 1987-). Brad Bryant was the only other one to do it, in 1991.

Hammond birdied No. 2, then started giving shots back. A water ball and a three-putt contributed to a double bogey at the sixth, and bogeys followed at Nos. 7-8.

The pillage on the back nine: No. 10--Sand wedge to six inches. No. 11-- Pitching wedge to 13 feet. No. 13--Chip to five feet. No. 14--and wedge to one foot. No. 15--7-iron to eight feet. No. 16--9-iron to 15 feet. The three pars were routine two-putts.

Putting problems

Funk continued to drive in the fairways and reach the greens, but his putting woes continued, too, as he posted 35-33--68 to move to 212.

The bogey-free round included a two-putt birdie at No. 6, and birdies at Nos. 13 (six feet) and 15 (20 feet). The last was only the second putt of longer than six feet he made all day. The other was a par-saving 12-footer after missing his only fairway of the day at No. 12.

He had a chance to get off in the right direction, but pulled a five-foot birdie effort at the first hole. That's been his recent story, as he has tried three different putters and different placement of his hands to get himself straightened out.

As awful as the putting has been, that's how good his driving and iron play have been. He's missed two fairways in three rounds and yesterday hit 15 greens.

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