Bobby Clampett, one of the rising stars on the PGAS Tour, withdrew from the Kemper Open yesterday because of an injury he suffered to his right hand while shooting a 70 in Thursday's first round.
After that round, Clampett said at a press conference, "I'm sure it will be perfect tomorrow . . . I'm probably just babying it a bit." Early yesterday, after hitting some 100 balls on the practice range, Clampett withdrew.
To observers, it appeared he injured the hand slashing a shot out of the rough on the 10th hole. He said he didn't feel any pain until his next tee shot. "It hurt like hell on the back nine. It was the toughest nine holes I ever played," said Clampett, who played that nine in one over par thanks to some outstanding chipping and putting.
The preliminary diagnosis was tendinitis and he hopes the pain will diminsih enough so he can play in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, near his hometown of San Francisco, in two weeks.
Clampett is the third box-office attraction to leave the tournament early. Tom Weiskopf walked off the course during Wednesday's pro-am, withdrawing for "personal reasons." Johnny Miller, former U.S. Open champion, was disqualified Thursday after shooting 78 and failing to record the score of his final hole on his card.
Clampett, 22, winner of more than $300,000 in two full seasons on tour, practiced for 45 minutes yesterday, hoping the hand would loosen up.
"It did, to a degree," he said. "I could hit a 50-yard wedge shot, but I worried what it would feel like if I hit a drive . . . I'd have to do the same as a I did yesterday, chip and putt.Even though I've been playing my best, it's very tough to go out with your guns unloaded. I knew that if I played a terrific round, I would shoot 75 or 76. But then I'd face the same situation Saturday and Sunday. I'd wear my hands down."
Jim Bellizzi, a 54-year-old lifetime member of the PGA and the oldest player in the field, scored a hole in one using a two-iron on the 211-yard 16th hole, giving him a three-under-par total of three strokes on that hole for the first two rounds.
But Bellizzi, a former pro at Montgomery Country Club and now a member at Germantown, wasn't as good on the other 17 holes. His 36-hole score was 82-86 -- 168. "I didn't care if I shot 90 today. I was determined to turn the score in," he said.
Washington pro Lee Elder rebounded from an opening 76 with 71 to make the cut, but not before a boy ran off with his ball on the 18th hole.
After a discussion with PGA tournament official Martin Brown, Elder was allowed a drop without penalty and went on to par the hole.
Fred Funk, assistant pro at the University of Maryland's course, and Naval Academy pro Larry Ringer were the only other local players to make the cut. Funk shot 72 for 148 and Ringer 73 for 149.
Other scores of local golfers: Woody FitzHugh, 72-150; Wheeler Stewart, 80-154; Gary Marlowe, 77-154; Fred Gibson, 78-157; Jim Seeley, 78-158; Jim Fitzgerald, 81-160.
Dr. Karl Jonas, the president of Congressional, was forced into emergency duty as a standardbearer Thursday, carrying the placard that indicates how each player stands in relation to par.
Jonas was following the threesome of D.A. Weibring, Morris Hatalsky and Chi Chi Rodriguez when the girl carrying the card left the course after the 18th hole, which was only the ninth for the threesome, which started on the back nine. "She thought the round was over," Jonas said.
When no card-carrier appeared at the first tee, Jonas went and got a card. "I caught up with the group at the second hole. I was happy to do it," he said. "I wanted to follow D.A. He is my house guest for the week."