Kemper Open champion Fred Couples, involved in a five-man playoff Sunday, finds himself in a seven-man playoff today.

Couples shot a 68 in yesterday morning's round but was wild with his tee shots in an afternoon round of 75 during U.S. Open qualifying at Bethesda Country Club.

Couples must return this morning at 7:30 and compete against six other pros, one of them Washington's Lee Elder, who shot 143 and now must play off for the final three qualifying spots. Darkness prevented the playoff yesterday.

Vancouver pro Dave Barr shot an afternoon round of 65 with five birdies and no bogeys, despite a 1 1/2-hour interruption caused by rain, and finished with a 36-hole total of 135 to win medalist honors. Eighty-four players competed for the 26 spots in the June 16-19 Open, to be held for the sixth time at Oakmont, near Pittsburgh.

Gary Marlowe of Woodmont shot an afternoon 69 and qualified with 142 for best score among local golfers. Elder shot 72, 71.

Former Fairfax resident Jim Thorpe birdied the par-3 second and 17th holes in both his morning and afternoon rounds, made four other birdies and shot 68-68--136. Mike Holland of Isle of Palms, S.C., was next at 137, adding a 72 to a morning round of 65 that included six birdies.

Thorpe frequently used a three-wood off the tees at Bethesda, a much tighter course than Congressional's, where he played last week.

"I didn't do anything too exciting out there. I just basically tried to keep the ball in play," said Thorpe, who plays out of Buffalo's Westwood Country Club.

Couples bogeyed two of his final three holes. He appeared to be in position to easily qualify after his morning round, but hit only one fairway on his final nine holes and bogeyed the 13th, 16th and 18th holes.

"It was tiring out there," he said. "I lost a little interest."

Couples went to bed at 1 a.m. yesterday after his Kemper victory on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff and had to get up at 5:30 in order to make his 7:38 tee off at Bethesda.