"Miss the green in Calcutta, and you might step on a cobra. That will make you hit the ball straight," says Steve Flesch, a 31-year-old lefty from Kentucky who played the Asian tour from 1993 to '96. "There was always a feeling of danger there-vultures flying overhead, snakes in the rough. In Indonesia a man called a snake doctor came to the course. He did a dance that brought out all the snakes so that they could be rounded up and carted away." Flesch flunked Q school six times before earning his PGA Tour card in dramatic fashion at last fall's Nike Tour Championship, which he won to catapult from 24th to fourth on the Nike money list. Now feeling safe on U.S. soil, he has been among the best newcomers of '98 with a second-place finish at New Orleans and a tie for third at Atlanta. His earnings of $473,160 put him 27th on the money list, and he is second in greens hit in regulation. "I don't care about that," he insists. "It only proves that I've been a conservative iron player who's afraid to shoot at the pins. I'll know my game's improving when my GIRs go down."