Big Lead Almost Slips Away From Aoki in Senior Win

From Staff and Wire Reports

Feeling comfortable with his big lead, Isao Aoki decided to create his own excitement Sunday. He opened the door a little for Larry Nelson, then slammed it in his face.

“This morning I tried to play like I needed a 69,” Aoki said after seeing an eight-stroke lead slip to two before steadying himself for a two-stroke victory over Nelson in the BellSouth Senior Classic at Nashville, Tenn.

“It turned out to be more fun because I bogeyed [Nos.] 6 and 7.”

Those bogeys, his first of the tournament, let Nelson pull within three strokes. But Nelson could get no closer than the final margin as Aoki posted a closing 70 in going wire-to-wire for his second victory in the tournament and first this year.


“Aoki played really well,” said Nelson, who designed the Springhouse Golf Club course. “There’s a lot of guys out here who, when they play their best, they’re hard to beat. If he plays his best, he’s really hard to beat.”

Aoki came into the final day after rounds of 62 on Friday and 66 on Saturday left him at 128, tying the 36-hole Senior PGA Tour record of 16 under set last year by Hale Irwin.

Nelson closed on Aoki with a bogey-free final-round 64. Irwin finished with a 66 to stand at 201, three shots off the pace.

John Jacobs, a first-time winner on the tour last weekend at the Nationwide Championship, had a 69 to finish at 205.



J.P. Hayes earned the first victory of his PGA Tour career with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff with Jim Furyk in the rain-shortened Buick Classic at Harrison, N.Y.

The loss continued Furyk’s frustrating, but lucrative, string of near misses.

Furyk forced the playoff by making a 10-foot eagle putt on the same par-five 18th used for the playoff, while Hayes, playing in the same group, made a birdie out of a greenside bunker on the final hole of regulation.


Both golfers started the day tied for the lead at nine under and both shot three-under-par 68s to finish at 201 in the tournament shortened to 54 holes.

Lisa Walters, a 37-year-old Canadian whose career was once in doubt because of a series of back, shoulder and knee injuries, tied the LPGA’s 72-hole scoring record in winning the Oldsmobile Classic in East Lansing, Mich., at 23-under-par 265.

Walters had rounds of 67, 67, 65 and 66 to match the tour record set last year by Wendy Ward in the Fieldcrest Cannon Classic at Charlotte, N.C. She broke the tournament mark of 20-under 268 by Beth Daniel n 1994 and finished six strokes ahead of runner-up Donna Andrews.

She was limited to five tournaments in 1996, and earned only $26,976 in 23 starts last season following surgery to repair a ruptured disk.



Rain washed out play in the DFS Classic in Birmingham, England, with Steffi Graf trailing Nathalie Tauziat 3-0 in the opening semifinal match. The other semifinal between Elena Likhovtseva and Yayak Basuki did not start.

Official of the grass-court tournament will attempt to get in the semifinals and final in today, but the event may be forced indoors.

Australian Scott Draper earned his first ATP Tour title, defeating Belgian-born Italian Laurence Tieleman, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, in the Queen’s Club at London.


Names in the News

Eric Tabarly, France’s best-known yachtsman who crisscrossed oceans to win numerous solo titles, was declared dead after falling overboard near Wales during the weekend. He was 66.

He was declared dead Sunday morning by officials in the Brittany port of Brest and in a tribute by President Jacques Chirac, after air and sea searches failed to locate him.

Lou Duva was one of 13 boxing greats and ring personalities enshrined into the International Boxing Hall of Fame at Canastota, N.Y.,


Among the champions Duva trained, managed or promoted are Hall-of-Famer Joey Giardello, Evander Holyfield, Meldrick Taylor, Vinny Pazienza, Bobby Czyz, Mike McCallum, Johnny Bumphus and former world champions Mark Breland and Pernell Whitaker.

Some of the former boxers also inducted were light heavyweight champion Matthew Saad Muhammad, flyweight champion Miguel Canto of Mexico and welterweight champion Antonio Cervantes of Colombia.

Quarterback Jim Arellanes stepped in for the injured Mike Quinn, and threw for three scores as Duesseldorf’s Rhein Fire routed the Frankfurt Galaxy, 34-10, to win NFL Europe’s World Bowl at Frankfurt, Germany.

Jerry Podbrozny scored two goals as the Chicago Fire defeated the New England Revolution, 3-1, in a Major League Soccer match at Foxboro, Mass.



Randy Harvey has the day off.