Former British Open champion Tom Watson, playing with a gallery of fewer than 200 on the Monterey Peninsula Shore course, shot a four-under-par 67 for the third-round lead in the $200.000 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am today.
Former President Gerald Ford thrilled a record gallery of more than 10,000 at Pebble Beach.
Watson, 27, had five birdies and a bogey and a 54-hole score of 15-under-par 202.
Britain's Tony Jacklin, playing back to the form that made him a star on the U.S. tour three years ago, shot 68 at Cypress Point for 203.
Lee Elder was another shot back and second-round leader Vic Regalado trailed Elder by a stroke.
Elder shot 69 at Monterey Peninsula, Regalado had 71 at Cypress Point.
Ford played with Arnold Palmer, his personal choice, and, although no score kept for his performance, he played about as well as expected for an 18 handicap.
When the round was over, the former president quipped, "I'm going to veto my score."
Palmer shot a two-over-par for 219 total and failed to survive the cut. Ford helped the team by five strokes, but it was not nearly enough to avoid the team's being cut for the final round of play. Palmer and Ford trailed by 23 points in the team race, limited to the top 30 teams for the final round.
The former president chipped in for a birdie on the 14th hole, and the huge gallery cheered him windly.
No attendance figures were announced for the third round, but it was believed that more than 30,000 showed up at Pebble Beach with more than a third of that total following Ford and Palmer.
Ford's presence and the mild, sunny weather contributed to the massive traffic jams that built up on the Monterey Peninsula. Delays of up to two hours were reported. Comedian Flip Wilson was caught in the jam and missed his tee time. Jack Nicklaus barely made it. There were several reports of irate, frustrated drivers, stuck in one spot for 20 minutes or more, climbing from their vehicles and shoving and pushing other drivers.
Hale Irwin observed of Ford, "If he gets to play a lot, he should get much better. First of all, he's a good athlete. And he's strong. You could see that on several of his drives."
John Geertsen, pro at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club where Ford played Friday, gave the onetime University of Michigan football player some coaching on the practices tee and observed. "I think he could be a 10- or 12-handicapper."
Ford overheard the remark and said, "I hope so."
Don Bies was at 207 after a 67 at Cypress Point.
Jack Nicklaus, the pretourney favorite, was in position to make a charge, then came to woe in the water behind the 17thgreen.
He took a drop, chipped close, almost hitting the pin, and one-putted for abogey. He finished with 70 and 208, six shots back going to Sunday's final round the Pebble Beach.