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1997 NISSAN OPEN / RIVIERA COUNTRY CLUB | NOTES

Missing Cut Means Major Disappointment for Them

March 01, 1997|SHAV GLICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Having a major championship in their resumes didn't mean a thing Friday for seven golfers who missed the 36-hole cut of two-over-par 144 at Riviera Country Club in the Nissan Open.

Headed home are two Masters champions in Larry Mize (145) and Ben Crenshaw (156), two U.S. Open champions in Ernie Els and Lee Janzen, both at 145, and three PGA champions in John Mahaffey (147), Hal Sutton (148) and Jeff Sluman (149).

Crenshaw, however, will stick around to work with the CBS-TV crew this weekend.

Seventy-seven players will play the final 36 holes for the $1.4-million purse. The winner will receive $252,000.

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Sutton had the biggest turnaround with a 68, improving 12 strokes from his opening-round 80. The 1983 PGA champion, who edged Jack Nicklaus by a stroke at Riviera that year, had one stretch of 3-3-3 on three holes where he scored 7-5-4 on Thursday.

"I knew I wasn't going to be playing Riviera on the weekend, so I went out to have a good time," he said. "And I did."

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Jerry Kelly said he did not wrap his putter around a tree after he missed a short putt on the 18th hole Thursday, as was reported.

Kelly, who shot rounds of 74-73, said he did miss a one-inch putt for a six, but he said he laughed about it afterward. He also said he couldn't have broken his putter because he started on the back nine and still had nine holes to play.

"Besides that, there aren't any trees there," Kelly said. "I'm just in my second year out here and I don't want that kind of reputation."

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The attendance of 30,446 on Friday was an all-time record for the second day of the 71-year-old tournament, according to L.A. Junior Chamber of Commerce officials.

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The Sutherland brothers of Sacramento aren't twins, but they play like it. Kevin is two years older than David, but both graduated from Fresno State and both missed the cut with identical 72-75--147 scores.

In Friday's second round, even their nine-hole scores of 37-38 were the same.

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U.S. Golf Assn. officials said that Riviera may have to be shortened for the U.S. Senior Open, which will be played there July 20-26, 1998.

"Riviera is playing 6,949 yards this week, but we would like our championship to be in the 6,700- to 6,880-yard range," the USGA's Tim Flaherty said.

"We won't decide exactly which holes will be shortened until the staff looks the course over in a few months. It will be a shorter par 71, however."

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No Monday qualifier has won a PGA tournament since Fred Wadsworth won the Southern Open in 1986. It probably won't happen this week, but two of the four who qualified Monday at Western Hills and El Prado survived the cut.

Joe Cioe of Crystal River, Fla., is at 143, and Patrick Boyd of Napa Valley squeezed in with a pair of 72s.

Terry Noe of Fullerton, the lone amateur in the field after qualifying Monday, shot himself out of the tournament with an 82 after an opening 71.

Staff writer Thomas Bonk contributed to this story.

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