Originally created 03/19/00

Colbert, North survive wind to maintain lead



ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Andy North overcame his nerves in the first round and the wind in the second. He'll probably have to combat both over the final 18 holes to win in his debut on the Senior PGA Tour.

Fighting off gusts of up to 30 mph, North teamed with Jim Colbert to shoot a 6-under-par 66 on Saturday and maintain a three-stroke lead after the second round of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

Heading into the final round of the two-man, best-ball tournament, North and Colbert stand at 19-under-par 125. That's three ahead of John Bland and Graham Marsh, who shot 65, John Mahaffey and Tom Wargo (64) and defending champions Hubert Green and Gil Morgan (66).

Another stroke behind were Gibby Gilbert and J.C. Snead (66) and David Graham and Bruce Fleisher (67), who were among the few to enjoy any success in the rough wind that hit the Slammer and Squire course once play resumed following a two-hour rain delay.

North, who turned 50 last week to become eligible for the senior tour, said he has no problem trying to win the tournament in rough weather.

"I absolutely love tough conditions," the two-time U.S. Open champion said. "If it blows hard tomorrow and we go out and make 18 pars and win the tournament by three or four shots, that would be fine by me."

That -- or something close to it -- could happen.

Sunday's forecast calls for more of the same -- cloudy skies with a chance of showers and wind between 10 and 20 mph.

"It doesn't take a genius to watch the forecast and realize it's supposed to be like this tomorrow," Colbert said. "Before the tournament began, we saw the forecast for Sunday and we said, `We want to be at the top going into the final day. We don't have time to fool around."'

So difficult were the conditions Saturday that a handful of bogeys -- almost unheard of in this format -- started popping up on scorecards.

North and Colbert recorded their only bogey on the par-3 15th to see their lead shaved to one stroke. They recovered with birdies on the next two holes to finish with the same three-stroke lead they had after the first round.

"Today was the kind of day that if you sat out and watched some of the holes, you probably would have had some good laughs," North said. "If you would have sat on 15, you could have written a lot of good stories. There were some pretty hard shots out there. Some guys did some pretty funny things with them."

Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd -- this weekend's marquee pairing -- got a break by starting early, allowing them to finish more holes before the weather worsened. They fared better than in the opening round, but not well enough to work their way back into contention. They shot 7-under 65 to finish the day at 133, eight behind the leaders.

The Golden Bear saved his best for last, chipping in from 35 feet for a birdie on No. 18, to the delight of the gallery.

"I helped a little bit, but not nearly enough," Nicklaus said. "Yesterday, I put us in a position where we had to shoot below 60 today and we just didn't do it."

Morgan and Green remained optimistic.

Morgan is making his debut after missing the beginning of the season with a pulled rib muscle. He says he's feeling better. Meanwhile, Green hopes to rediscover the game that helped him win a tournament last week in Mexico.

"Without Gil, I'd be teeing off first tomorrow," Green said. "If I can play some representative golf, we could have a lot of fun tomorrow."

DIVOTS: Lee Trevino and Mike Hill won the 36-hole Legendary Division competition for players 60-69. They finished at 131 over two days and won when Tommy Aaron and Don Bies bogeyed the final two holes. ... Chi Chi Rodriguez and Harold Henning tied Aaron and Bies for second in the Legendary Division. "The weather kind of killed our momentum. First the rain, then the wind. But, so what?" Rodriguez said. ... If North and Colbert win, they will be the third wire-to-wire winners in the last four years. ... The 64 posted by Mahaffey and Wargo was the lowesst score of the day. On Friday, Colbert and North took the lead with a 59.