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INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

The Only Club He Wants to See After This Is All-England

August 16, 1996|GRAHAME L. JONES

It started out so well for Ivan Lendl, and then, as happens so often on the golf course, it all went hopelessly awry.

Playing in his first professional golf tournament, the Czech Open at Marianske Lazne, Lendl recorded a birdie on the first hole and then fell apart.

The winner of eight Grand Slam tennis titles shot an opening round of 11-over-par 82 and trailed the leaders by 15 shots.

"It is much worse than playing a Wimbledon final," Lendl said. "Five times worse, because in tennis I had confidence in what I was doing. Here I had nothing to base my confidence on."

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Add Lendl: On the first hole, Lendl missed the green to the right with his approach shot, then pitched over a bunker and saw the ball roll into the hole for a birdie three.

"I know the spectators were expecting something a little better [than an 82]," Lendl said, "especially after I birdied the first hole. But that was just luck.

"I shall feel much better tomorrow. I may not shoot better, but I shall definitely feel better."

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Trivia time: Who was the first thoroughbred racehorse to travel by plane?

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Be patient: From the Good Doctor in Inside Sports:

Q. "Do you think the Dallas Cowboys will pass more often this season?"

A. "On offense, yes. On drug tests, no."

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Stuck in neutral: Caught on the Fly in the Sporting News: "Look on the bright side, Angels fans; if major league baseball decides to try this neutral-site World Series thang, Anaheim'll be in the running as host city . . . every year."

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Foot speed: World champion race driver Michael Schumacher of Germany is expected to earn $15 million from a shoe manufacturer who designed a pair of Ferrari-red driving shoes to match his car.

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Smart company: If he hits four more triples this season, Lance Johnson of the New York Mets will join a select group of players--Stan Musial, Dale Mitchell, Willie Mays, George Brett and Willie Wilson.

They are the only players in the postwar era to hit at least 20 triples in a season.

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Odd pupil: Nebraska punter Andy Bilanzich will not be back this season, meaning the top-ranked Cornhuskers will not be quite as colorful.

Bilanzich gained some fame as a redshirt freshman last year after wearing an artificial eye with a red iris and a white "N" in the middle.

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Trivia answer: El Lobo, who on Oct. 27, 1945, made the flight from Los Angeles to Bay Meadows in San Mateo, Calif.

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And finally: Said French soccer player Eric Cantona: "I would rather receive two words of praise from a great manager than 10 years of compliments from journalists."

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