But before his first match on Thursday, Sigel's 5-year-old daughter, Megan, got on the phone and asked her daddy to hurry home. "Please try and lose," she begged. Megan got her wish when Sigel ran into a giant-killer named Rocco Mediate, a 21-year-old from near Pittsburgh who plays at Florida Southern. Earlier this summer Rocco was one of the guys who KO'd Arnold Palmer in sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open, ending Arnie's string of 31 straight Open appearances.
At Oak Tree, Mediate got Sigel 3-down after 11 holes and hung on to win 3 and 1. Said Sigel, "When the bell rang, nothing happened. I don't know why." He hadn't been obsessed with winning three straight, but before leaving town he admitted, "I'm glad it's over."
Taking up the flag for the over-30s after Sigel's departure was Randy Sonnier, a 35-year-old Continental Airlines pilot who lost to Verplank 1-up in the semifinals Saturday. Sonnier would have had to forfeit the match if he hadn't stayed up past midnight Friday to find a replacement pilot for the Dallas-Denver- Salt Lake City trip he was scheduled to fly on Saturday. He hung tough enough to make Verplank sink a six-footer for par to win on the last hole.
It was difficult for anyone to get rolling at Oak Tree, a Pete Dye creation of contrived naturalness featuring fairway moguls, grass bunkers and water on 12 of 18 holes. Its rating is 76.9 from the back tees, the highest the USGA has ever given, almost a full stroke more than Spyglass Hill. It's so tough that the USGA shortened the rough from three to 2� inches and moved some of the tees up.
Verplank, who had played Oak Tree about 30 times, was confident that the tougher conditions got, the greater his advantage. After finishing his Wednesday round in the stifling heat, he came into the clubhouse and piped, "Gee, that was great. No wind."
Randolph, who beat Jerry Haas of Wake Forest 7 and 5 in the semis, shares none of Verplank's intensity. He didn't even leave California for amateur tournaments this summer. He also knew he was the decided underdog against Verplank. "I'm going to have to play my best just to keep from getting embarrassed," he said.
Randolph certainly didn't embarrass himself. "I had chances, but Scott came back with incredible golf," he said.
After the match, Randolph's USC coach, Randy Lein, congratulated Holder, his opposite number, and asked, "What did you feed Scott at lunch?"
Holder smiled. "Nails," he said. "Just nails."