St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Azinger to endure wait after finishing poorly

Published October 30, 2004

PALM HARBOR - Paul Azinger does not have to worry about his standing on the money list even after missing the cut at the Chrysler Championship.

But after bogeying his final two holes on the Copperhead Course at the Westin Innisbrook Resort, including a three-putt from 40 feet at the par-4 ninth, Azinger was none too chipper.

He briskly walked past those assembled outside the scoring trailer then let out a loud profanity while walking down a players-only path but still in earshot of dozens of spectators.

Azinger, 44, opened the tournament with a 75 but battled back to put himself in position to make the cut. He was 6 under for his round through 16 holes then let it get away with the bogeys to shoot 68. He missed the cut by one.

"He hit a perfect drive, knowing he needs a par on 9, and hit an 8-iron that was not up to his standard," said playing partner Jeff Sluman, who is tied for the lead with Jonathan Byrd. "And he left himself an incredibly difficult putt and ran it by 12 feet and missed it. You feel bad for him."

Azinger is 123rd on the money list and needs to be among the top 125 after Sunday to remain fully exempt for next season. If not, Azinger can use an exemption for being among the top 50 all-time money winners although he would prefer to save that for later.

The goods news for Azinger is that Olin Browne, Craig Barlow, Bob Burns and Mathias Gronberg, behind him on the money list, missed the cut.

BLOOMIN' WHAT?: Australia's Rod Pampling is in his third full season on the tour and for several years before that played on the Nationwide Tour. So he is accustomed to the American way of life and lives near Dallas.

But Pampling, 34, does get home to Australia every year to play in a few tournaments. And he gets a kick out of the fact that one of the most popular U.S. restaurant chains has an Australian theme, Outback.

"I think it's great that it's such a successful restaurant, which means obviously that the relations between America and Australia are pretty strong," Pampling said. "The thing that you laugh at is the Bloomin' Onion because I've never heard of one before." IN THE HUNT: Palm Harbor's John Huston got back in the race with a 3-under 68, which put him 4-under for the tournament. He finished six shots behind Sluman and Byrd, but Huston has plenty of local knowledge that could help. "I'll have to get on a pretty good roll to catch up, but at least I played better (Friday)," Huston said. "You never know what could happen. I could make a few putts and get close to the lead and make a run on Sunday."

AMATEURS ADVANCE: Glenn Mullian of Richmond, Va., and Lynne Cowen of El Macero, Calif., won the inaugural club championship at the Island Course. Mullian, who shot 69, and Cowen, 73, earned spots as amateurs in January's Bob Hope Classic.

The event began in the summer with local club championships. Champions qualified for one of four region semifinals. The top four men and women from each region qualified for Friday's final. The event benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and American Junior Golf Association.

AROUND INNISBROOK: By missing the cut, 2003 U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk will not extend his streak of wins to seven seasons, behind only Tiger Woods' nine. ... None of the four players who received sponsor exemptions took advantage. Browne was 125th on the money list and must hope nobody passes him after he shot 77 on Friday. Greg Chalmers and Bill Glasson, both outside of the top 150, will have no status after shooting 148. Jay Overton, the host pro at Innisbrook, also shot 148. ... Joe Ogilvie was disqualified for not signing his scorecard. He shot 80 on Thursday and 13-over 84 on Friday. ... Mark Brooks withdrew on the back nine due to back pains.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.