Returning to the Site Of Sweet Victory
For Donna Andrews, 1997 was a year of grape juice and roses. Her victory at the Welch's/Circle K ended a 2�-year dry spell and sparked a season in which she had 10 top-10 finishes and the lowest stroke average (71.01) of her career. Annika Sorenstam wasn't at her grapest here last year—she held a three-shot lead on Sunday but triple-bogeyed the 9th hole when she hit into the drink. Andrews should contend again, but the favorites, as always, are Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, neither of whom has fulfilled her grape expectations at the Welch's.
They Keep Going and Going and Going....
The flat-bellies play 72 holes, the round-bellies go 54. Hardly anybody stops after 63 holes. But last year Bob Murphy subdued Jay Sigel with an 80-foot birdie putt on their ninth playoff hole at the Toshiba Senior Classic, ending the longest Senior playoff ever. Alas, Murphy's feat had barely hit the record books when David Graham and Dave Stockton went 10 extra holes at this year's Royal Caribbean Classic. The Seniors may be past their primes, but they seem ever ready to play on into prime time. Defending champion Murphy, '96 champ Jim Colbert and '95 winner George Archer return to the Toshiba this week along with Hale Irwin, Gil Morgan and Lee Trevino.
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He Helps Make the LPGA A Toddlin' Tour
When Dale Eggeling won the Los Angeles Women's Championship in February, she had help from Tony Verive, the official babysitter of the LPGA tour. As director of the Smucker's Development Center, Verive provides day care for tour kids, including Dustin Eggeling, Dale's 10-year-old son. "Tony's a godsend," Eggeling says. "I couldn't have played without this service." Of the 43 moms on the LPGA tour, four won a total of six titles last year thanks in part to Verive and his assistant, Lisa Delosh, who use churches, YMCAs and hotel rooms to oversee infants, toddlers and even teens. Verive, 51, says business is baby-booming: When he stalled in 1993, there were about a dozen kids to look after; today there are 50. "We provide little golf clubs for them to play with," says Verive, who admits that the tour's toddlers would rather watch Barney.
Florida's Favorite Teen Bopper
CHRIS COUCH was the media darling of the 1990 Honda Classic. Couch was a 16-year-old high schooler when he qualified for the tournament by shooting a six-under 65 at Carolina C.C. in Margate, Fla. Forget Arnie's Army, Chris's Couch Potatoes had eyes only for him. After shooting 82-77 at the TPC at Eagle Trace that week to miss the cut by eight shots, Couch played at Florida, where he was a two-time All-America. Today he plays the Nike tour in relative obscurity. His best finish is a tie for fourth at the 1997 South Carolina Classic, which paid $10,667 and accounted for nearly half his earnings last year. Couch, who says he once shot a 59 in high school, is still notable for his power—with an average drive of 293.5 yards, he trails only Stiles Mitchell in driving distance on the swoosh tour.