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GOLF SENIOR TOUR AT INDIAN WELLS : 'X' Marks the Spot With Hole in One, Record 62

March 21, 1993|DAN HAFNER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — George Archer and Raymond Floyd are tied for the lead in the Gulfstream Aerospace Invitational after 36 holes, but a man once known as Mr. X stole the show Saturday at Indian Wells Golf Resort.

Miller Barber began the second round of the $550,000 Senior PGA event with a hole in one and finished it with a 10-under-par 62, the best tournament round ever for a professional golfer over 60.

With a round he called the finest he ever played, Barber is at 131, trailing the younger leaders by a shot after an opening round 69.

Par continued to take a beating on the immaculate 6,476-yard course. Archer, who led by two shots after an opening-round 63, lost ground with a five-under-par 67. He and Floyd birdied the 470-yard par-five 18th hole to finish at 130, 14 under par.

Floyd missed a couple of chances to take the lead but still managed a 65.

Bruce Crampton, who also shot a 65, is at 132. Isao Aoki and Bob Charles are at 134. Leading money winner Al Geiberger is at 135, five shots off the lead going into today's final round.

Barber, one of the stars of the super-senior group, last won at Vintage Club in this same event in 1989. One of the pioneers of the senior tour, he has won 24 senior events.

"But I don't think I ever played any better than I did today," he said. "I made one 25-foot putt for a birdie, but otherwise I just made one good shot after another, beginning with the first one.

"We figured the first hole for 153 yards. I hit a six-iron. It landed below the hole, bounced once and rolled into the cup. I made a hole in one Wednesday on the 15th in the pro-am. But this one counted and I didn't waste it. I think I've made 21 of them. It got me so pumped up I hit a two-iron 220 yards. That's long for an old guy."

In his young, bachelor days on the regular tour, his friends called Barber, Mr. X. "I've forgotten those days," he said, laughing. "I'm a happily married man."

Barber missed by 11 days being the youngest golfer to shoot his age in a tournament. He will turn 62 on March 31. The record was set by Sam Snead, who shot consecutive rounds of 66-67 in the Quad Cities Open in 1979 when he was 67.

"I'm glad I didn't shoot a 61," Barber said. "I don't ever want to break any Sam Snead record. Sam would get mad at me. He might even send me a bomb in the mail. I'm just happy to have this kind of round.'

At times it appeared Floyd might be ready to take over the tournament. But he made several poor shots with his pitching wedge and had two or three putts barely miss.

Archer said he played rather well.

"I'm back (in the media tent). I'm still leading, despite some poor drives," he said. "I was told before the tournament started that if there was no wind it would take 20-under to win it. I'm on target."

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