Golf Roundup : Watson Is 4 Shots Up After a 66

From Times Wire Services

Confidence in his putting has helped Tom Watson move four shots ahead of the field halfway through the $3-million Nabisco Championships of Golf, the richest tournament in the sport’s history.

Watson, seeking an end to a frustrating three-year non-winning slump, shot a 66 Friday for a 36-hole total of 131, nine shots under par on San Antonio’s 6,556-yard Oak Hills Country Club course.

“I haven’t had this much confidence in my putter in a year and a half,” Watson said.

Watson, who made a run at this year’s U.S. Open title before coming up short on the final day, said he is putting with much more confidence here than at the Open.


“Here, I’m thinking I’m going to make the putts. At the Open, I was hoping to make the putts. There’s a big difference between thinking and hoping,” Watson said.

Watson, a non-winner since July, 1984, had a one-shot lead at the start of the day. Three straight birdies, beginning at No. 5, helped him pull away from the 30-player field.

Ben Crenshaw, Mark Calcavecchia and Mike Reid shared second place at 135.

Reid, who scored the first victory of his 11-year PGA Tour career last week by winning the Tucson Open, matched Watson with a bogey-free 66. Calcavecchia had a 68 and Crenshaw a wildly erratic 67 that included seven birdies and four bogeys.

First prize in this tournament, the last event on the regular PGA Tour schedule, is $360,000.

In addition to the $2-million tournament purse, another $1 million--with $175,000 to the winner--will be distributed in the Grand Prix of Golf, a season-long competition that also ends here.

Bill Kratzert shot a five-under-par 67 to tie first-round leader Tom Sieckmann for the top spot at the midway point of the $500,000 Centel tournament at Tallahassee, Fla.


Kratzert and Sieckmann, who shot a 70, were even at 136 after 36 holes on the Killearn Country Club’s 7,032-yard layout.

Buddy Gardner shot a hole-in-one en route to a 68 that left him one stroke behind the leaders. Two strokes back were Jay Overton, who had a 69, and Larry Zeigler, who had a 70.