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Tway Finds Groove That Turned Him Into Tour Winner

February 20, 1988|CHRIS ELLO

SAN DIEGO — A woman in the gallery saw Bob Tway's name on the leader board Friday afternoon but didn't recognize it. So she turned to a friend for some help.

"How do you pronounce that name?" she said.

"I'm not sure," the answer came back. "I don't know if I've ever seen that one before."

How quickly they forget.

It was just two years ago that Bob Tway--sounds like sway for anyone else who's having trouble remembering--exploded upon the professional golf scene in just his second season.

He won four tournaments, including the PGA Championship, finished second on the money list behind Greg Norman, and was named the 1986 PGA player of the year.

He opened that season by winning the Shearson Lehman Brothers Andy Williams Open, beating Bernhard Langer in a playoff.

"That's where it all started for me," Tway said.

At least he remembers.

Nowadays, he's trying to make everyone else remember. In 1987, Tway faded from the spotlight, finishing 47th on the money list and failing to win a tournament.

His putting went awry and his best finish was a tie for third in the Phoenix Open.

"I just didn't play nearly as well last year," he said. "The key to me getting going again was to get off to a quick start this year."

So far, so good. Tway, 28, a former Oklahoma State All-American, finished third at the Bob Hope Desert Classic last month and was second at Pebble Beach two weeks ago.

But, no start has been quicker than the one he enjoyed on Torrey Pines' South Course Friday.

Tway birdied the first, second, third and fourth holes, bogeyed the fifth, eagled the sixth and birdied the seventh. That's six-under par through seven holes.

"It's too bad I couldn't keep it up," Tway said.

He went on to finish with a 7-under 65 and a two-day total of 11-under 133, only one shot off Don Pooley's second-round lead.

It may take some of the fans some more time to notice, but it seems Tway is back in the groove.

"I just worked and worked on my putting before this year started," Tway said. "That's all it is with me is the work."

Friday, Tway worked his way through the first four holes, needing just four putts.

He made birdie putts of 5 feet on the first hole, 8 feet on No. 2, 15 feet on No. 3 and 10 feet on No. 4.

After a bogey at No. 5, he came back with an eagle on the par-5 537-yard sixth. His second shot, a 4-iron, pulled up eight feet short of the pin and he dropped the putt.

His run ended with another eight-foot birdie putt on No. 7.

"It's hard to keep up a pace like I started with," Tway said. "You start getting pumped up because you're making birdie after birdie. Then you start going too fast. You have to try and calm yourself down again."

Usually, being calm, at least outwardly, isn't one of Tway's problems. He moves through most rounds quietly and without incident.

Friday, after his eagle putt at No. 6, he waved to a cheering crowd and nodded. He barely broke into a smile.

He walked on to the next hole with the idea of continuing his recent resurgence.

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