Fresh from storming the British Open last weekend, Bill Rogers spent 5 1/2 hours this afternoon on the steamy Kingsmill Golf Course warming up for the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic that begins here Thursday.

"This is fun," said the dripping Rogers, as he signed autographs and tried to sip a cold drink following a pro-am tournament. "I've certainly paid my dues after seven years on the tour; now I guess I can go one or two ways. I can take advantage of the win and have my game really take off or I can sit back and say, 'I've won the British Open."

"I plan to use it as a starting point, a stepping stone," Rogers said.

Asked whom he considered the man to beat in the bloated field of 152 pros here for the $300,000 tournament, Rogers grinned. "Like I always say -- myself."

While this is being billed as the 13th annual Anhueser-Busch Golf Classic, the par 71 course remains something of a mystery to all but two members of the pro tour, Washingtonian Lee Elder and Williamsburg resident Curtis Strange. Even defending champion Ben Crenshaw had not played the course before the practice sessions earlier this week.

The tournament has been held at the Silverado Country Club in Napa, Calif., since 1968 but was moved to Virginia this year when that club did not renew its option on the tournament.

The Kingsmill Course, perched along the banks of the James River, has developed a reputation for its challenging multitiered bent grass greens.