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Somebody must have whacked him too hard, because Faldo vaporized on Saturday. Still in contention after birdieing the 3rd hole, he began missing short putts. His temper rising, he threw caution and control to the winds and wound up hitting for the cycle (par, bogey, double bogey, triple bogey). The triple came at the par-4 10th, where Faldo pushed an iron shot into the creek and then tried to play from a ragout of mud, pinecones, rocks and poison ivy.
"Well, I ruined my Best-Dressed Golfer of the Year chances," he said afterward, lingering his mud-spattered shirt.
The ball, alas, had hit the top of the bank and toppled back in, leaving Faldo in the soup in more ways than one. By the time he reached the 16th tee, he knew it was over. That was where he offered to give his clubs, pants and shirt to a youngster behind the ropes.
Finishing with an unsightly 80, the bemused Brit allowed that he might cut his American trip short and skip this week's International in Colorado. Joked Faldo: "I might have had enough brain damage for August."
Faldo's performance at Shoal Creek was nothing to shout about, but there was still an excess of shouting. Some tournaments are decided by the yips; this one was influenced by the yelps.
Scott Verplank, leading the field at four under on Thursday, lay in the 17th fairway when an impatient fan bellowed, "Hurry up and hit the ball!" The usually placid Verplank, who was still blinking from a time-consuming meander deep into the woods, responded with a seven-iron to the green and a 20-foot putt for double-bogey. Coming off the green, he shouted, "Where's that bigmouth now?" No one responded, and Verplank apologized later for losing his cool. But it was Grady, whose 67 on Friday gave him a one-shot lead, who got stuck with the worst of the shouters. Paired with Fred Couples on Saturday, Grady shot 72 to stretch his lead to two over Couples and Stewart. Through most of the round he had to endure a fan who yelled, "You're the man, Freddy!" every time Couples hit a shot. "I like Freddy; Freddy's a great guy," Grady said. "But I got sick of hearing his name."
None of these distractions kept good golf from being played. Dr. Gil Morgan, the nonpracticing Oklahoma optometrist with seven Tour wins and perennially aching shoulders, needed only 29 putts on Saturday and jumped into contention with a tournament-best round of 65. Former Masters champion Larry Mize shot 68 on Friday, and boyish second-year pro Billy Mayfair shot two sub-par rounds and tied for fifth. Even the weary Faldo had some sparkle left at the end—a final-round 69.
But it was Grady who proved that Shoal Creek wasn't too rough for a player in championship form. The angry-eyed Queenslander is the forgotten man from last year's British Open playoff, won by Calcavecchia and lost by Norman (hereafter to be known as "the other Aussie"). Grady travels with his wife, Lyn, and three-year-old daughter, Samantha, a Down's syndrome child. "He suffers many sleepless nights, but you never hear him complain," said Australian journalist Andrew Both. "He really deserves to be Father of the Decade."
Sunday, Grady was more a Mother of Invention, withstanding early challenges by Couples and Morgan and the nonchallenge of his rattled playing partner Stewart, whose hopes of repeating vanished with a triple bogey at 11. Couples took the lead briefly with a birdie at 12, but the long-hitting pro from West Palm Beach, Fla., apparently switched to a rubber putter; he missed three-to four-foot par putts on the next three holes.
"They weren't gimmes, and they don't look far," Couples said, "but when you need to make 'em, they're very, very tough."