Player Holds Lead In Classic

Posted: May 18, 1986

Bruce Crampton said it was like the Lone Ranger being reunited with Tonto. Crampton, playing with his favorite caddie for the first time since 1976, fired a United Hospitals Classic record 65 yesterday to close to within 1 shot of leader Gary Player after two rounds at Chester Valley Golf Club.

Going into today's final round, Player leads the 54-man field of senior golfers with a 4-under 136 after suffering bogeys on three of the last four holes. Crampton's record-setting round gave him a 137. Dale Douglass is alone in third at 139 after a second-round 69.

Arnold Palmer fired a 66, and he is in a three-way tie for fourth with Lee Elder and Bob Charles at par 140. Defending champion Don January, Walter Zembriski and Gordon Jones are tied at 1-over 142.

Crampton, a winner last week at the Dominion in San Antonio, Texas, said he had wasted no time in getting in touch with caddie Nick DePaul, a Broomall resident, after noticing that DePaul might be available.

DePaul had caddied for Crampton for half of 1974 and through the 1975 and '76 seasons. In May 1977, Crampton left the regular PGA tour, and he didn't return to professional golf until he joined the Senior tour near the end of last season.

"What an assist that is (to have DePaul). It's like having another brain out there. He's all business on the course. He says the right thing at the right time," Crampton said. "I'm proud and happy to have him with me. If I can play as well as Nick can caddie, then we're going to have a good tournament, we're going to have a good year."

DePaul, who also has caddied for Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer, was reluctant to take much credit for Crampton's round. "He hit every shot, I didn't take any shots," the caddie said.

But DePaul acknowledged that a caddie had to be able to handle a pro with the same finesse a baseball catcher uses to handle a pitcher. "Every player has his own idiosyncrasies. You have to know what he likes."

And what about Crampton? "Well, he's a very meticulous player, so you have to be very meticulous. And that's the way I am, too. I'm very serious about this business."

Yesterday, Crampton hit 16 greens on his way to a six-birdie, one-bogey round. Starting the day at 2-over par 72, he sank a 20-foot putt at the par-4 No. 4 to begin his charge on the leader board.

On the par-3, 164-yard 5th hole, Crampton put a 4-iron five feet from the pin for the birdie, and he followed that by landing a sand wedge three feet

from the hole on the par-4 No. 9 to set up another birdie.

Long putts of 40 feet at the par-4 No. 17 and 18 feet at the par-4 11th hole helped Crampton's surge. He finished with still another good approach at the par-4 No. 18, putting an 8-iron four feet from the pin and holing out for the birdie. Crampton's lone bogey came at the par-4 12th hole, where he missed the green and 2-putted.

Player helped Crampton's cause and hurt his own with a poor conclusion to his second round. Earlier in the day, it appeared the South African was ready to turn the United Hospitals tournament into a rout, as he led by 5 strokes after the front nine.

On No. 15, a tough par-3, a quick breeze came up as Player was teeing off, and his drive fell short of the green. A poor chip and two putts later, and Player's round was beginning to fall apart. He 3-putted the 17th hole, then mised a seven-foot putt for par at No. 18.

"It sure doesn't leave a good taste in your mouth when you finish that way," Player said.

Arnold Palmer thrilled the gallery with a stretch run reminiscent of his younger days, as he birdied five of the final 11 holes.

"That was one of the better putting rounds I've had lately. I hit some bad chips, and that's where my game has been bad - not chipping up and making the putts for par," Palmer said. "And that's important on a course like this, getting up and down."

Palmer's 66 came on still another whirlwind weekend of obligations. After shooting a 74 Friday, Palmer drove to Wilmington, got into his plane, flew to Washington, D.C. for an awards speech, flew back to the Philadelphia area,

went to sleep, woke up in time to give another speech at 8 a.m. yesterday, and made it to the course in time to hit a few balls and tee off.

NOTES. Palmer was once again emphatic about his opposition to the "cart rule," which allows Senior tour players to ride in golf carts during their rounds. Palmer says he will never ride a cart during a competitive round. ''If something happened where I couldn't walk any more, I'd say, 'Thank you,' and back off," he said. . . . Lolita Cunningham, 13, the first pediatric heart transplant patient in the Philadelphia area will toss out the first ball for today's final round. Lolita received her new heart at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, one of the tournament's beneficiaries. . . . The final round begins this morning at 8:09.

THE LEADERS

Gary Player 66-70-136

Bruce Crampton 72-65-137

Dale Douglass 70-69-139

Arnold Palmer 74-66-140

Lee Elder 71-69-140

Bob Charles 69-71-140

Don January 74-68-142

Gordon Jones 68-74-142

Walter Zembriski 69-73-142

Jerry Barber 70-73-143

Pete Brown 71-72-143

Orville Moody 73-70-143

Gay Brewer 72-72-144

Paul Harney 72-72-144

Charles Owens 71-73-144

Miller Barber 69-75-144

Jack Fleck 73-72-145

Harold Henning 75-70-145

Gardner Dickinson 69-76-145

Mike Fetchick 70-75-145

Bob Ross 70-75-145

Joe Jimenez 76-70-146

Ben Smith 71-75-146

Buck Adams 79-68-147

Gene Littler 72-75-147

Billy Maxwell 76-71-147

Jim Cochran 73-74-147

Charlie Sifford 73-74-147

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