By the time I got to tee off the early starters had come in, and I looked at a scoreboard and saw that Davy Hill was leading at nine under par. I set myself a goal of 10 under. I don't usually watch anybody else's score, but I did today, and I got right to work on beating Davy. I finished the round with 13 pars and five birdies for my second straight 67. So I'm 10 under for the tournament. For the first time this year I'm all alone in first place after two rounds. And I'm ready to charge again tomorrow. To hell with pars and trying to play conservatively. I'm going to go out and shoot me another 67.
MAY 3—If I was ever going to run away with a tournament, I should have done it today. I must've had 10 makable putts for birdies, and I missed six of them. What hurt even worse was that I missed an 18-inch putt for a par on the fourth hole. It was nothing more than a little tap-in, but I marked my ball, cleaned it off, looked at it from all four sides, took my stance and, just as I drew back my putter, the crowd around the 6th green, which is right behind the 4th green, let out a big roar. I almost jumped. My putt missed the hole completely. I didn't even touch the corner.
I came in with a 69, and now I'm tied for first place with Hill, who shot a 68. We're both three strokes ahead of the field.
I'm nervous tonight, nervous because I'm so close to winning a tournament. I feel like a hungry man getting ready to dig into a thick steak. Winning a tournament means so much. It's $20,000 in the bank and $20,000 on the money list, and it's a lot more than that. It opens up so many doors. I want to win so bad I can taste it. I wonder if fellows like Palmer and Nicklaus and Casper, who've won so many tournaments, still get this feeling when they're close to winning. For somebody like me—I've won only six tournaments in my career—it's like a kid waiting for Christmas.
I'm kind of pooped physically, and I hope I'll be able to channel my nervousness tomorrow and use it as an asset. I've been under the pressure of leading or being close to the lead for seven straight rounds of competition now, and it's wearing me down. I guess this is when I find out whether or not I'm made of championship fiber.
MAY 4—How the hell can a man finish second two weeks in a row on this tour and be anything but happy?
And that's just what I am tonight—anything but happy.
I still don't believe what happened. I don't believe I could have given away a tournament like I did. The first three rounds here I played just as well as I can play, and today I played even better. And I lost. I gave it away. I don't want to believe it.
I was nervous this morning, as nervous as I've ever been in my life, but I was determined, too. I told Patty I was going to go out and win this thing today. She believed me. I believed me, too.
The first five holes I picked up routine pars—down the middle, on the green, two putts. The 6th hole, a par-5, I got on in two and two-putted for a birdie. Then I parred the next three holes, and by the time I got to the turn I was one under for the day and 14 under for the tournament.