Happy Endings: At the PGA Tour's recent qualifying tournament at La Quinta, Calif., 1997 NCAA champ Charles Warren triple-bogeyed the 3rd hole in the sixth and final round. Carlos Franco four-putted the 11th hole and broke his putter in half. Chris Smith, facing an evil chip at the last hole, was doomed if he didn't get down in two. Amazingly, all three—along with Jeff Brehaut, who had flunked six straight Q school finals, P.H. Horgan III, who'd lost his Tour card by one stroke, and 36 others—came through and earned their cards for 1999. Warren followed his triple with five straight birdies; Franco putted smoothly with his driver on the last seven holes; and Smith, who suspected he had no chance to get his 40-foot chip near the hole, knocked it into the cup and jumped about six feet straight up.
Bulldog Curbed: Corey Pavin, who hasn't won a tournament since the '96 Colonial, led by three shots with six holes to go on Sunday at the Australian Players Championship in Brisbane. Stephen Leaney one-putted all six to catch Pavin, then holed a six-footer on the first playoff hole for the victory. "I wish I'd won, but that was acceptable," said Pavin. "It's the best I've played in a long time."
A Blue Rose: Justin Rose (left), who lit England's fire while tying for fourth at the British Open, has yet to make a cut as a pro. Last week in Sotogrande, Spain, he opened with a 78 in the European tour's qualifying tournament. Rose rallied, though, and needed a 70 in the final round to earn his Euro tour card. He shot 80. Next year he'll be the most famous player on the Challenge tour, Europe's version of the Nike circuit.
Shark Bait: The Masters has changed its entry requirements for the first time in a decade. In '99 the top 50 players in the World Ranking will be invited. That's good news for Greg Norman, who wouldn't have qualified otherwise.
Expatriate Games: Brian Watts, who was all but unknown outside Japan before nearly winning the '98 British Open, birdied the second hole of sudden death to beat Toshimitsu Izawa in last week's Casio World Open in Kagoshima, Japan. Watts, who'll switch from the Japanese tour to the PGA Tour in '99, won $192,857 to bring his earnings for the year to $952,592.
The Coast Isn't Clear: ClaimCard Inc., an insurance research firm, estimates that crooks steal at least $100 million a year in golf clubs. Retailer Edwin Watts has responded by introducing an alarm system that blankets a shop in fog when burglars break in.