Tom Kite, sloshing over rain-soaked fairways, shot his best round as a professional, a course record 10-under-par 62 at the fabled Pebble Beach Golf Links, to hold a two-stroke lead today after three rounds of the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am Golf Tournament.
"This is the best," Kite said, asked to compare this round with others of his career. "To have as much fun as I did, well, you want to stretch it into an eight-hour round.
"Golly, this was fun. Tremendous fun."
In second place were Ken Green, Rex Caldwell and Donnie Hammond. Green began the round leading by three strokes but became too quick with his irons at Cypress Point and shot 71. Hammond, 25, from Frederick, Md., and medalist at last fall's PGA Tour qualifying school, shot 67 at Spyglass Hill, considered the toughest of the three Crosby courses.
Caldwell shot 68 at Cypress.
Kite, who has won the Vardon Trophy for low scoring average on the tour the last two seasons, broke by two shots the record Ron Funseth set in 1972 on one of the nation's most respected courses, the 6,799-yard layout through eucalyptus and pine and along Carmel Bay's cliffs.
"This is the best designed and most beautiful course in the country," said Kite, who has played Pebble Beach, Cypress Point and Spyglass Hill in 203, 13 shots under par.
He had 10 birdies and no bogeys, with birdies on the 11th through the 15th holes. On 15, a par-4, 397-yarder, Kite hit a four-iron 40 yards short of the hole, then pitched in.
"I got a big break when my drive stayed inbounds," said Kite, "but I never expected to pitch in. It was the most exciting thing in an exciting round."