Then, after 15 holes, there he was, a rookie playing like a veteran again, with two birdies on the final three holes to retain a three-shot lead going into today's final round.
Herron shot an even-par 72 for a three-day total of 202, 14 under par, to lead New Zealand's Michael Campbell into the final 18 holes.
"A great relief. I'm glad I made those last three putts," Herron said. "It'll make me sleep a little easier tonight."
Campbell shot a 68 to reach 11 under on the TPC at Eagle Trace, and Mark O'Meara, who shot 65, is at 10 under.
Rookie Johnny Benson, who needed only four races to win the first pole of his NASCAR Winston Cup career, lost it in a split second when he crashed his Pontiac Grand Prix in the final practice session for the Winston Cup Purolator 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Benson will drive a backup car today and will have to start at the end of the 41-car field.
Mark Martin will start first in a Ford.
The Chevrolet of Terry Labonte, a Winston Cup regular and part-time driver in the Busch Series, beat that of former Grand National champion David Green to the finish line by 2.2 seconds to win the Busch Lite 300 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Labonte won $28,800 and averaged 139.656 mph.
Jeremy McGrath, three-time defending American Motorcyclist Assn. 250cc champion, took the lead on the second lap and won the Daytona Supercross on a Honda. Damon Bradshaw, riding a Yamaha, held off the Kawasaki charge of Damon Huffman to finish second.
Goran Ivanisevic defeated Guillaume Raoux, 6-4, 6-4, in the semifinals of the ABN AMRO indoor tournament at Rotterdam and moved into the title match against Yevgeny Kafelnikov, a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 winner over Tim Henman in the other semifinal.
Sixth-seeded Marcelo Rios of Chile advanced to his first ATP Tour hardcourt tournament final with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Australia's Sandon Stolle at the Franklin Templeton Tennis Classic in Scottsdale, Ariz. Rios will play the winner of Saturday night's semifinal between top-seeded Wayne Ferreira of South Africa and Spain's Alberto Berasategui.
Urs Kaelin of Switzerland, two weeks after losing to Alberto Tomba in the World Championships, got a measure of revenge at Hafjell, Norway, by winning the final giant slalom of the World Cup season. Tomba managed only fourth place in his first showing since winning gold medals in the giant slalom and slalom at Sierra Nevada, Spain.
Earlier, overall World Cup champion Katja Seizinger won the women's race, and her German teammate and roommate Martina Ertl won the giant slalom season title by finishing second.
Bjoern Daehlie of Norway clinched the World Cup cross-country skiing title by finishing second, 5.2 seconds behind Vladimir Smirnov's 22-minute time, in the 10-kilometer race at Falun, Sweden. Daehlie established an unbeatable point lead in the race for the overall season title.
In the women's 15-kilometer race, Manuela DiCenta of Italy won for the sixth time in a row, being clocked in 38 minutes 17.7 seconds.
Musher Jeff King of Denali Park, Alaska, has overtaken Martin Buser for the lead in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, entering Nulato a minute ahead of Buser, the 1992 and 1994 champion.
Andreas Goldberger of Austria won a World Cup ski-jumping event with a record-setting jump of 204 meters and a total of 385.8 points at Harrachov, Czech Republic.
Alexis Blanc of France won for the fourth time this World Cup season, scoring 232.15 points to take the aerials competition at Hundfjaellet, Sweden. Kirstie Marshall of Australia won the women's event with 161.57 points.
Utah, the NCAA ski championships' runner-up the two previous seasons, won the team title with a strong showing in the Nordic class races, placing two racers in the top 15 of the women's 15-kilometer and men's 20-kilometer events and finishing with 719 points. Denver was second.
Giovanni Parisi took the World Boxing Organization's super-lightweight crown in Milan, Italy, with an eighth-round knockout of defending champion Sammy Fuentes of Puerto Rico. . . . Ireland's Steve Collins retained his WBO super-middleweight title, stopping challenger Neville Brown of Britain in the 11th round of a bout in Millstreet, Ireland. . . . Indiana has joined at least 10 other states in requiring professional fighters to be tested for the virus that causes AIDS before they are allowed to compete.
Track and Field
Julius Achon, the world's fastest miler this year, got favored George Mason off to a swift start at the NCAA indoor track and field championships at Indianapolis, winning his specialty in 4 minutes 2.83 seconds to help the Patriots in their bid to dethrone 12-time defending men's champion Arkansas.
Going into Saturday night's 20 finals, Houston led the men's team race with 19 points, one point ahead of UCLA. Three-time defending champion Louisiana State topped the women's standings with 20 points, two ahead of South Carolina.
In the NCAA Division II championships, Abilene Christian swept the men's and women's titles.
Meet records were set by Jonathan Jordan of Cal State Los Angeles in the men's triple jump (52 feet 10 3/4 inches) and Tambi Wenj of Cal State L.A. in the men's shotput (60-11 1/2).
Names in the News
Bud Tenerani, 67, of Canyon Country, a former publicist for NBC Sports, died Saturday at the Norris Cancer Center after a long bout with leukemia.