That Snead is classified as a club pro this year is not to say he spends an awful lot of time giving lessons or hawking merchandise from behind a pro shop counter at the Greenbrier, his club in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. At home the 59-year-old Snead plays as much golf as any tournament regular and at Pinehurst he started out with a 67 on No. 2, followed by a 65 on No. 1. When everyone had played both courses and the relative scores could be shaken into place, there was Snead, with a three-shot lead. On the third day, his knobby face one continual scowl, he played some loose iron shots, made poor use of Barber's putter, shot 74 and so led by only a stroke over Stan Thirsk, a long-hitter from Shawnee Mission, Kans., who scored a 69.
Thirsk didn't think too much of his chances for first place. "I'll tell you," he said. "I'm just trying to get second, because there's no way I'm going to beat that old buzzard."
For a few moments on the third hole the final day, when Snead floundered from one trap to another on a 345-yard, par-4 hole and then three-putted for a double-bogey 6, it seemed that Thirsk might be wrong. But from then on old Sam hit some fairway woods that positively whirred, downed some good putts and pulled steadily away. Three groups up ahead was where the fight for second place finally settled. Thirsk. spraying his irons into rough sand and pines, began to make bogeys, and suddenly there were two New Yorkers, Jerry Steel-smith and Ron Letellier, playing the last hole for what Snead had left for the rest. Steelsmith parred the hole, Letellier birdied it with a seven-iron and a 10-foot putt and they tied for second at 280. Both players have served time on the pro tour, but their checks for $7,800 each were the largest either had ever earned in a tournament.
Snead was not apologetic about his victory. "Hell, I've been a club pro since before most of these fellows were born," he said, just before pocketing his check, climbing into a waiting Cadillac and heading off toward White Sulphur Springs.