By RODNEY PAGE
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 18, 2001
LUTZ -- Raymond Floyd was one shot out of the lead Saturday when he walked onto the 197-yard, par-3 17th hole. Floyd was 4-under par, along with playing partner Jack Nicklaus, and closing on leader Hale Irwin.
Floyd, however, knocked his tee shot in the water, then three-putted for triple-bogey 6. He went from a tie for second to a tie for 17th at 1-under 141, five shots off the lead.
What has Floyd scratching his head is the fact he thought he didn't play poorly. He leads the field in greens in regulation, hitting 86.1 percent through two rounds, and is fourth in putting this week. "I hit two bad shots," Floyd said. "I played well outside of two shots. But you can't make a bad shot on this golf course anywhere. It's the kind of golf course that will get you."
Floyd bogeyed the 17th in Friday's opening round.
LOW ROUND, LOW PRAISE: Dana Quigley carded the low round of the tournament, 6-under 65. He vaulted from a tie for 49th into a tie for eighth. But that didn't stop Quigley from talking about how difficult the 6,638 yard, par-71 TPC of Tampa Bay course is.
"This golf course is too hard for us old men," Quigley, 53, said. "The pin placements are very difficult. I know they surveyed us (at the end of last season) and 77 percent wanted the courses to be harder. But I haven't figured out why we need it tougher. It's not like we have to prove ourselves." Quigley was not among the 77 percent who voted for tougher courses. And he's not going to stop playing, especially after rounds like Saturday's.
"I think 6 under on this course is a low, low round," Quigley said. "It's like a 64 on other courses. There are some red-light pins and some green-light pins, and for me there's mostly yellow-light pins. If I'm making the 15-footers then they're green lights."
SUPER SENIOR: Mike Hill won the Super Seniors tournament, the first this season. Hill shot 70-71, one ahead of Gary Player.
Hill, 62, won $34,000. Super Seniors is for golfers 60 and older and is played within the main tournament.
"The only reason I play is to play Super Seniors," Hill said. "If they didn't have a Super Seniors I'd be home on the farm. I don't have any visions of grandeur. I can't beat these young guys. I still get a high from the competition with (Super Seniors). It's exciting when you have to dig down and make pars to win."
Hill has 18 senior tour victories, including the 1990 Suncoast Classic. It was his eighth Super Seniors victory.
NELSON MAKES A MOVE: Larry Nelson, 1999 champion and winner of two senior events this season, rebounded from an opening 75 with 4-under-par 67.
"I think we got kind of messed up because the wind didn't keep blowing," Nelson said. "The first nine holes I shot 2 under and that was a great score. Then when we got on 16 the wind just died.
"You have to have a really good round and I felt like today might've been that. But I made too many mistakes. I had two three putts today and those were my only bogeys (par-3 six and 17). That's kind of the way it's been."
ETC: Bob Eastwood is 2-under 68 on the front nine and 13-over 85 on the back nine. ... Joe Inman was forced to withdraw because of a lower right back strain. Inman shot an opening 71. ... Rocky Thompson continues to struggle after winning this event in 1994. Thompson hasn't won since, and Saturday he shot 5-over 76 and was 16 over and in 77th and last place. ... Eckerd Corporation hosts its 10th annual pro-am Monday at Bardmoor's North Course and the Bayou Club in Largo. Thirty-two Senior PGA players are scheduled to play, including Jim Dent, Christy O'Connor, Miller Barber and Quigley. There is a 10 a.m. shotgun start. The tournament is open to the public.