Originally created 02/07/98

Golf notes: Love, Kite in lead at rainy Buick



The Spanish explorer Balboa clearly wasn't thinking about the PGA Tour's West Coast swing when he named the body of water off California the Pacific Ocean.

There has been nothing pacific, calm or tranquil about the last two weeks on tour. The West Coast Swing is now the Wet Coast Swing.

Just days after the Pebble Beach tournament was blown from February into August by El Nino, the second round of San Diego's Buick Invitational was washed out Friday when the greens at Torrey Pines became too wet to play.

Tom Kite, helped greatly in cold, windy rain by eye surgery that allows him to now play without glasses, was 9 under par through 29 holes, tied for the lead with Davis Love III, who had played 27 holes before play was suspended shortly after noon.

Steve Pate, Robert Damron and Jeff Sanday -- playing in his first PGA Tour event -- were at 8 under. Pate and Damron had played 28 holes and Sanday had completed 26.

Seven players, including Payne Stewart and Stewart Cink, were at 7 under. Tiger Woods, who started the day nine strokes back, got to 4 under through 30 holes to pull within five of the leaders.

LG CHAMPIONSHIP:

Jim Albus shot a 5-under-par 67 Friday to take the first-round lead in Senior PGA Tour's LG Championship.

Tour rookie David Lundstrom birdied two of his final three holes to finish one stroke back at 68. Gil Morgan was third at 69, with Hale Irwin, Bob Murphy, Tom Wargo, Al Geiberger and Bob Eastwood tied at 70.

"That was the first good one in a while," Albus said. "It felt great. I hit the ball well and putted good, too. And it added up to a good score for a change."

Albus, 57, won five times in his first five years on the Senior Tour.

But in 1996, playing in pain, he dropped out of the top 50 money-winners. Off-season surgery on a blocked nerve in his neck fixed the problem, but his form never returned.

Albus managed to play in 26 events last year, but for the second straight season failed to break into the top 50 money-winners.

His 67 marked his lowest round since July and gave Albus his first tournament lead since 1995, when he won in San Antonio -- 87 starts ago.

SOUTH AFRICAN OPEN:

David Frost of South Africa shot a 6-under-par 66 Friday to move from seventh place to the lead after two rounds of the South African Open in Durban.

Frost reeled off four birdies on the front nine and three more on the back nine. He is at 134.

Countryman Ernie Els, who shot 64 on Thursday, had a par-72 Friday and is two shots back at 136. He holds two South African titles.

Australian Greg Chalmers was third with 137 at the halfway mark of the tournament.

GREG NORMAN INTERNATIONAL:

Greg Norman was upset by questions about his friendship with President Clinton on Friday, and the Australian's game suffered in the second round of the Greg Norman International.

Norman shot a 73 to drop seven shots behind leader Jose Maria Olazabal at 141.

Olazabal had his second straight 5-under-par 67 for 134 and a one-stroke lead over American John Cook, who had a 66.

Norman was asked about reports that independent counsel Kenneth Starr had subpoenaed television footage of Clinton's visit to Florida last year -- when he also visited Norman's home -- looking for possible footage of Clinton with former aide Monica Lewinsky. During the visit to Norman's home, Clinton stumbled down stairs and injured a knee.

"Let the thing go, guys," Norman said. "What he does in his private life is his business. I think he should just go on and run the country the way he wants to run it."

Norman said news coverage of the issue was damaging his game.

"I should be able to say `yeah, you can go out there and play and it's not on your mind,' but I don't think you could," he said. "I don't care how strong your mind is, it's there. You're not thinking about playing golf."