Lee Trevino had just hit a ball off the 10th tee at Indian Wells Country Club yesterday when he looked to the left, toward the Santa Rosa mountains.

"Let's get going," he yelled to his partners in the Bob Hope Desert Classics. They took off running up the fairway.

Trevino's group had cause to hurry for flowing toward it was a stream of water twice the width of a standard car.

A small dam above the golf community of Ironwood had collapsed under the heavy runoff from recent heavy rains. The water cascaded through Ironwood, then moved through Indian Wells, running in a natural ravine that cut through the heart of the course.

Within minutes, the water was two feet deep. It cut off all the entrances to Indian Wells, stranding among others, former President Gerald Ford and the PGA tours's leading money winner, Tom Watson.

Ironically, Arnold Palmer is president of the Ironwood development. He was scheduled to tee off two hours after Trevino and had not yet arrived at Indian Wells.

Trevino's foursome wound up being the only ones to tee off on the course.

While play at the three other Hope courses continued, PGA officials kept postponing play at Indian Wells. Finally, after a three-hour delay, the entire tournament was postponed. The third round of the five-round event will resume today - if the flood waters have receded.

It marked the first time in 19 years that a round of the Hope tournament had been postponed. It was a bright, sunny, windy day, marred only by brief showers. But it had rained especially hard Thursday night, as it has for most of the week.

Ford and everyone else on the wrong side of the flood never were in any danger. Large trucks and campers could make it through the water but the only small car to try it got stuck in the middle.

Later, however, Doug Sanders pulled up in a Rolls Royce for his 9:24 tee-off. The car immediately turned around and drove back out. By the time it crossed the surging ravine again, water was pouring from its doors.

Ford and Watson were in the same foursome, which was next up after Trevino's group. They surveyed the rushing water and joked about not being able to get back to the clubhouse if they managed somehow to get on the other side of the flood.

Then Ford retired to a room in the clubhouse and Watson to the practice tee. Almost everyone else with proper badges flocked to the bar, which was kept well-stocked by a beer truck that managed to cross the waters.

By 1 p.m., the water was low enough to let cars pass, as long as they were driven slowly. Ford, accompanied by the usual entourage of Secret Service agents and police cars, quickly joined the departing parade.

"The floods made six areas of the golf course unplayable," said a deputy PGA commissioner Clyde Mangum. "We held off as long as we could, hoping we'd be able to get the round in.

"We reconsidered a lot of things but we decided to play the tournament as is. It was contracted as a five-round golf tournament and that's what we'll play." But Mangum said NBC had not decided whether it would televise Monday's final round.

"I've never seen anything like this," said Hubert Green. "First time I bet a flood has postponed a golf tournament."

The weather forcast for today calls for fair skies and no rain. But that was the same forecast the weatherman gave for yesterday.