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The Line on... Straight Man Steve Flesch Had a Rough Road Home


"Miss the green in Calcutta, and you might step on a cobra. That
will make you hit the ball straight," says Steve Flesch, a
31-year-old lefty from Kentucky who played the Asian tour from
1993 to '96. "There was always a feeling of danger
there--vultures flying overhead, snakes in the rough. In
Indonesia a man called a snake doctor came to the course. He did
a dance that brought out all the snakes so that they could be
rounded up and carted away." Flesch flunked Q school six times
before earning his PGA Tour card in dramatic fashion at last
fall's Nike Tour Championship, which he won to catapult from
24th to fourth on the Nike money list. Now feeling safe on U.S.
soil, he has been among the best newcomers of '98 with a
second-place finish at New Orleans and a tie for third at
Atlanta. His earnings of $473,160 put him 27th on the money
list, and he is second in greens hit in regulation. "I don't
care about that," he insists. "It only proves that I've been a
conservative iron player who's afraid to shoot at the pins. I'll
know my game's improving when my GIRs go down."

--Richard Deutsch

COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK [Steve Flesch golfing]