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The putter had to go

Golf can be a frustrating game, even for professionals who make a lucrative living playing it. Take Robert Gamez, for example.

He had to putt with his sand wedge, driver and 2-iron over the last 10 holes Saturday because he broke his putter on No.

8.

"I just finally got fed up with it," Gamez said after shooting 8-over-par 78. "I know it's not the putter's fault. "It's the Indian, not the arrow' is what they say, I guess. I was fine after that. I was getting pretty heated there for a little while. I was starting to explode, and that stopped me from doing that."

Gamez broke his putter simply: "I laid it under my foot, lifted one end and snap-a-roonie."

His actions, though, came as a bit of a shock to playing partner Jumbo Ozaki of Japan, where it is considered poor etiquette to show anger so vehemently, even if it is directed at oneself.

"It's an individual's liberty to do what he wants," Ozaki told the Japanese media. "It's kind of a shame, though. I came here (to the United States) just to play in this tournament, and (Gamez breaking his putter) makes me think that perhaps this is just another tournament to him."

Bring 'em all on

Playing with the defending U.S. Open champion and the defending British Open champion would be intimidating for anyone, let alone an amateur. But Justin Leonard did just fine.

In fact, Leonard, the reigning U.S. amateur champion, beat both Tom Kite and Nick Faldo. He shot 69-71 to make the cut, while Faldo barely got in at 144 and Kite missed at 145. Leonard added a 73 Saturday to finish three rounds at 3-over 213.

"One of my goals was to make the cut and I did that," said Leonard, 21, a student at the University of Texas. "Now, it's time to re-evaluate. Just because I had a better round than my playing partners well, I don't think a lot about that."

Miscellany

Palm Harbor's Brian Claar had a scorecard oddity Saturday: He made 14 consecutive 4s, starting at the first hole. The streak included 11 pars and three bogeys and was broken with a bogey-5 at the 15th. What is more amazing is Claar finished Friday's round with six 4s in a row, meaning he had 20 consecutive 4s. He then made a 3 at the par-3 16th, and finished with birdies at the last two holes for 72 and a three-day total of 3-over 213. Lee Janzen's 54-hole total of 203 tied a Open 54-hole record set by George Burns in 1981 at Merion and tied by T.C. Chen in 1985 at Oakland Hills. Neither player went on to win the tournament. For the third day, the 542-yard, par-5 18th played the easiest on the course. The average score was 4.707.

_ BOB HARIG

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