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Dennis Peete, who still reports to work every day at a sugar mill back home in Pahokee, Fla., could have added another line to his hat: CALVIN PEETE CAN'T PUTT. "Whoever says that just doesn't know what they're talking about," scoffed Weibring. But Peete himself would be the first to admit that putting has been his nemesis, the most elusive element of his game. So the touch he has recently developed with his putter surprised some people who haven't been paying close attention. Peete needed only 12 putts on the last nine holes, a wonderful stretch considering that almost everyone was appalled at the state of the greens. Assessing one player's poor putt earlier in the week, Lee Trevino had shrugged and said, "You can't read dirt." Trouble was, the harsh winter had kept the newly seeded bent grass from filling in, leaving the greens in poor shape.
With his Sunday 69, Weibring finished second and took home $97,200. That's more than the winner receives in all but seven events on the tour. "I'm still proud to be known as the winner of the 1979 Quad Cities Open," he said, citing his single Tour victory. "I was trying to prove all week that I can play this game, and I think I did."
Even though conditions were mild—clear skies and light winds every day—only five players broke 70 on Sunday, which proves just how tricky the TPC course is. A player can master it for a few holes, but, sooner or later, it's going to retaliate.
Irwin, for example, went four over par on the first five holes Sunday and finished out of the hunt with a 75. He came away impressed with Peete's rock-steady performance. "I could have had every good bounce and break there was, and I couldn't have beaten Cal," Irwin said.
Irwin has been trying to regain the old form that has quietly put him in fourth place on the alltime money list behind Jack Nicklaus, Watson and Trevino. His last Top 10 finish came at the 1984 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, where he took a one-stroke lead into the last round only to shoot 79. In fact, since that Open, Irwin had made only $21,671—a mere $3,040 this year. "I've been on a mental sabbatical," Irwin said after his opening-round 67 reacquainted him with the press room and gave him the early lead.
Of the 144 players in the field, 52 shot par or better in the first round, an indication that the course might not be as tough as it had been for its three previous TPCs. But, as noted, the Players Club fights back. Ask Morris Hatalsky. After nine holes Friday, Hatalsky was on the leader board at six under par. Nine holes and 45 strokes later, he had shot a 79 and missed the cut of 146.
Meanwhile, Weibring was shooting his second straight 68, taking the lead and picking up the sympathy vote. It wasn't only that his mother, Estella Mae, was back home in Quincy, Ill. with heart and blood-pressure problems, or that D.A. himself was coming back from a doleful spell that included a wrist injury. It was that Weibring, with a chipmunk's face and ready smile, seemed to be a pretty regular fellow. In the second round, when a fan yelled at Arnold Palmer, D.A.'s boyhood idol, that Arnie's play "wasn't bad for an old guy," Weibring stuck up for Palmer by telling the fan, "Age is all attitude. Arnie looks like he's 25 to me."
Weibring also had a comeback for those who wanted to know what his initials stand for. "Don't Ask," he said. But the way he was hitting the ball, they might just as easily have been short for Darn Accurate. In the first two rounds he missed only one fairway and three greens. In fact, the D is for Donald, the A for Albert.
For a time it appeared the winner might be Bernhard Langer of West Germany. In the TPC, Langer had opened with a 68, and then he went out in 31 on Friday. When he birdied the 1st hole (his 10th hole), he was leading the tournament at 10 under par.
But things—including a warning about slow play—started to get under his skin, and he bogeyed four of the last seven holes. He also was informed by PGA Tour official Glenn Tait on the final fairway that he was being fined $500 for slow play. In the press room, steaming, Langer said, "I couldn't protest. If I had talked to him for 20 seconds, he could have fined me again." Then he added, "This will definitely affect me tomorrow"—a prediction that appeared painfully accurate on Saturday when, still in contention at six under, Langer hit two balls in the water at the 18th. His third one bounced off a wooden piling onto the fairway, but he still wound up with a triple-bogey 7 which took him out of the tournament.