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APRIL 25—The wind blew up like crazy this morning, and I thought, "Oh, God, here I go, down the drain again." I can't stand to play in wind, but when I sank a 25-foot putt for a birdie on the 2nd hole I stopped worrying so much about the wind. Then I really got hot. Old Arnie was playing right behind me, and I kept turning around and giving him the evil eye. He couldn't see my face, but I was sort of saying to myself, "Stick that in your kilt, Palmer." I knew that every time I sank a putt he had to see it and groan a little. I ended up with a 67. Now I'm three under for the tournament and tied for the lead with Bruce Devlin and Bert Greene. Arnie shot a 75; I guess he didn't have much fun watching my birdies.
APRIL 26—I picked up a couple of quick birdies today and moved two strokes ahead of the field, then faltered and shot a couple of bogeys to slip back to even par after 12 holes. I parred in from there for a 70, but I should've shot a 67. I had birdie putts of six feet, three feet and four feet on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes, and I missed all three. Arnie shot a 69 today, so he's six strokes behind me. I've got to come in first or second to be sure of beating him out.
I don't feel too tense tonight. I don't have the pressure of leading the tournament, just the pressure of having to finish high and beat Arnie. And I'm confident of one thing. With Bob Charles and Trevino at four under, Bruce Devlin and me at three under, Bruce Crampton at one under and nobody else below par, I've got a helluva chance of coming in low North American.
APRIL 27—When I got up this morning, the big stud pro golfer with a shot at winning the Byron Nelson Classic, I started stuffing toys and suitcases and diapers into the station wagon, jamming everything in. I swear we had more stuff than when we started the week. I don't know whether we buy it or it just materializes.
Patty dropped me at the course, then left the kids at a nursery so that she could walk with me. On my way to the first tee, a young fellow wearing a Coca-Cola driver's uniform ran up to me and said, "Mr. Beard, could I bother you just for a second?"
"I'm kind of in a hurry," I said, "but what can I do for you?"
"Well," he said, "I was watching you practice, and whenever you hit your bad ones your body was getting out in front of your hands and your hands were falling way behind and it gave you kind of a whiplash. If you'd just slow your body down a little bit and let your hands catch up, you'd eliminate all those bad shots. Just stop lagging your hands behind your body." I was absolutely stupefied. I should have told him how to drive a Coke truck.
On the 4th hole, after three pars, I missed a 30-inch putt—just 2½ feet—and took a bogey. I got really mad at myself. "Now, c'mon, Beard," I told myself. "Let's play some golf."
I started hitting some unbelievable shots, but just like in my dream the other night, I couldn't get the ball in the hole. On the 5th hole I had a six-foot putt for a birdie. On the 6th I had a 10-footer for a birdie. On the 7th I had a four-footer for a birdie. And on the 9th I had another 10-footer for a birdie. I missed every one of them. I wasn't getting the ball up to the hole.
After nine holes I had a 36, one over par, and I was in front of my playing partner, Trevino, who shot a 39, and even with Charles, but I was two strokes behind Devlin. On the 12th, looking for a birdie, I gambled on my drive and caught the edge of the rough and took a bogey to fall three strokes behind Devlin.