Of the 11 players within four strokes of the Kemper Open lead, Tom Weiskopf radiates the most confidence.
And why shouldn't he? At 38, he is the oldest, has won more PGA tour event(13) than they have captured collectively and has won the Kemper three times; none of the other leaders has three total victories. He has the long iron game needed for Congressional's 7,054 yards and he says he has been playing well for months, without scoring well.
After a bogeyless 68 yesterday left him two strokes out of the lead at 136, Weiskopf was beaming when he walked into the interview room and said, "Anytime you play a round of golf on a tough course without a bogey, there's a lot of satisfaction."
If there are horses for courses, then Weiskopf is a golfer for the Kemper.
Even the change of venue from Charlotte, N.C., where he won his three Kempers, has not waned his confidence.
"There are certain courses a player will play well all the time, said Weiskopf, who added he chooses his tournaments with that, the locale and the purse -- the that order -- in mind.
"I played well at Charlotte. I've played well here. When you're more comfortable, you're more confident," he said. "It's the Kemper. I've won it three times. I feel comfortable wherever they play it. But it gets back to the golf course. You have to feel comfortable to be playing well.
"I'm more comfortable on this type of course, with rolling terrain, bent grass and tree-lined fairways. I grew up on that in Ohio. These courses aren't artificial like the ones in Florida."
As the course dries out today, since no more rain is forecast, the greens will become harder to putt. Those players who save pars from 10-15 feet will be at a severe disadvantage, even those who save them from five feet will suffer, Weiskopf said.
"You've got to play some good iron shots to keep the pressure off your putting," he explained of the contoured greens with swails, valleys and double-breaking testers.
Weiskopf was asked when the esoteric value of the game overtook money as the main reason he played. He said it happened in 1966, toward the end of his second year on tour.
"Once you get the money in the bank, you learn that you don't have to look at the scoreboard and worry that a missed putt will cost you $2,500," he said. "You'll learn the money's there. All you have to do is play well and you'll get some."
Washington-area pros making the cut were Lee Elder (73-71 -- 144) and Woody FitzHugh (72-72 -- 144).
Elder visited the sand traps so frequently yesterday that he said, "I felt like I played in the Sahara Desert. He closed it out by getting down in two from the sand for the fourth time in five tries. That came on the 602-yard ninth hole, his finishing hole, where he also visited a fairway bunker.
Both Elder, a touring pro whose company is the concessionaire at the Langston public course, and FitzHugh, now opening a driving range in Northern Virginia after losing his playing card, failed to make the cut last year.
Jim Simons, tied for second place with four other players, is in business with Dave Pelz, an amateur golfer from Beltsville who used to work in the U.S. space program. They do research on electronic products devised to help one's putting stroke.
Yesterday, Simons shot 67 and could have been lower with a hotter putter. But his hot club was a five-wood, which he used five times on approach shot and produced two birdies. He also used an all-metal wood from the fairway. He calls it his "Pittsburgh Persimmon."