THE FIRST BLUSH OF SUCCESS
A year ago Rich Beem and Kelli Kuehne were Texas toast, each more
lone than star. Beem was working in an El Paso pro shop. Kuehne,
from Dallas, seemed done at 21, crushed by unreasonable
expectations. Seeing them sweat their first wins was like
watching a nervous teenager fumbling for a first kiss. They were
awkward, but you could tell it was a moment they'd never forget.
Beem and Kuehne are toast all right, the toast of their
LPGA Corning Classic winner Kuehne, who beat Rosie Jones by a
stroke, has only one other top 10 finish in 34 starts as a
pro.... Jones has won four (two at Corning, two at Rochester) of
her nine titles in New York.... Hall of Famers Amy Alcott, Pat
Bradley, JoAnne Carner and Patty Sheehan missed this week's U.S.
Open. Bradley withdrew and Sheehan took time off, while neither
Alcott nor Carner attempted to qualify.
PGA Beem's biggest first-place check before earning $450,000 at
the Kemper Open was the $5,000 he collected as the winner of the
'98 Conrad Hilton Open in Socorro, N.Mex.... Beem is this year's
third first-time winner.... Heading into next week's FedEx St.
Jude Classic at the TPC at Southwind, defending champ Nick Price
leads all players with five victories and more than $2.9 million
in earnings on TPC courses.... Brad Faxon broke his left wrist
falling off a ladder and will be out of action for eight weeks,
dooming his chances of qualifying for the Ryder Cup team....
Rocco Mediate spent last week at home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.,
with his wife and three kids, two of whom are recovering from the
chicken pox, but he held on to the 20th spot on the money list
and will therefore qualify for the July 15-18 British Open at
SENIOR By winning the Boone Valley Classic in suburban St. Louis,
Hale Irwin became the first golfer to top $14 million in career
earnings.... Allen Doyle, who came in fourth, four shots behind
Irwin, has finished in the top 10 in seven of his 13 starts.
ALSO Colin Montgomerie, who said last month that he aimed to win
two of his next three starts, won the Volvo PGA by five strokes
over Ryder Cup captain Mark James--his second victory in three
weeks.... Darren Clarke, Ireland's best golfer, has dropped out
of the July 1-4 Irish Open because of a dispute over appearance
fees.... A group led by Clint Eastwood, Arnold Palmer and Peter
Ueberroth has offered a reported $1 billion for the Pebble Beach
UP and Down
Rich Beem Brad Faxon
Steve Duplantis Jim Furyk
Arnie at Pebble Beach Arnie at Isleworth
Kelli Kuehne Hank Kuehne
Corning Classic LPGA Skins Game
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMIE SQUIRE UP AND AT 'EM An early-rising pro beat the sun to the range before the second round of the Kemper Open.