Maurice Flitcroft, the crane driver who bumped the dimpled ball around 121 times in 18 holes last year trying to qualify for the British Open and insisted he deserved another try in 1977, has been rejected by the Royal and Ancient.
They'll make do without him in qualifying for the July event at Turnberry, Scotland, organizers notified Flitcroft yesterday. So he can retire at the top, with the record high round in all the years of one of golf's oldest competitions; that was his first full round, but he had been practicing this year.
He can rest on his laurels, between the covers of golf's record book, along with a couple of newcomers: Morgan Wilson and Rudy Carter, players in a foursome at Bayview Country Club, Petoskey, Mich., the other day who consecutively four-ironed 76-yard tee shots into the 13th hole . . . and Sue Prell, a 19-handicapper at the Chatswood club near Sydney, Australia. Prell, 43, aced the 13th hole (six-iron, 122 yards) Sunday, then aced the 14th (four-wood, 167 yards). "It was luck - but, my God, what stupendous luck," exulted the physical education teacher who is the first woman known to card back-to-back aces (along with 15 men) . . ."
How about this for a record. After Bob Menne of the pro circuit shot 74-78-75-76 in the Tournament Player Championship, where Jacksonville's Sawgrass course ate him alive with all the rest, who would have thought he had just broken the PGA tour record for least putts over 72 holes Weeks later, it has been discovered that he putted only 99 times, breaking by three the record posted by Bert Yancey in the 1966 Portland Open . . .
With feats like those, and a guy named Steve Veriato suddenly winning $22,800 while forcing Hale Irwin to birdie the 72d to beat him in the Atlanta Classic, and some 400 hopefuls including Curtis Strange, who missed by one shot last winter, starting today to fight through six 18-hole rounds of PGA School competition at Pinehurst, N.C., for a couple of dozen tour cards, a duffer gets the itch for salvation.
Re-enter Bogey Breakers.