Kathryn Crosby, four days after announcing she was withdrawing the family name from the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am golf tournament, decided yesterday "to save Bing's tournament."

The widow of the late crooner/actor said through a family friend, "I have been besieged by requests from all over the world to make a final effort . . . " Among those wanting to keep the Crosby name associated with the annual PGA Tour event at Pebble Beach on California's Monterey Peninsula were the Crosbys' sons, Nathaniel and Harry.

Kathryn Crosby said Monday "the wrong elements have seized control . . . and they are determined to transform the old 'Clambake' into just another corporate sideshow for the PGA. In her new statement, she said, "Major corporations have generously offered far more assistance than AT&T (which had provoked her ire), with pledges to maintain the integrity of Bing's name and the event.

"Therefore, I have decided to continue the Crosby . . . with the sole condition that those who worked to undermine the integrity of the tournament step aside in favor of Bing's friends who have expressed their desire to continue in the grand old tradition of Bing's Clambake" . . .

Payne Stewart posted a six-under-par 66, with seven birdies and a last-hole bogey when he went into a water hazard, for a one-stroke first-round lead in the $500,000 Houston Open. The touring pros, playing on The Woodlands' Tournament Players Course for the first time, had 55 subpar rounds. At 67 were Mike Nicolette, Calvin Peete, Keith Fergus and David Frost, a rookie from South Africa. Peete missed an ace by four inches on No. 16 . . .

The defending champion duo of Billy Casper and Gay Brewer took a one-shot lead with eight-under-par 62 in the opening round of the $500,000 Legends of Golf. Kathy Whitworth and Mickey Wright gave them a scare.

Whitworth and Wright, the first women ever to play in a PGA-sanctioned event on an equal basis with men, stole the show from the Seniors tour stalwarts with an early run, and scored a respectable 65.

Whitworth-Wright drew the largest gallery at Onion Creek as they tied or beat 22 of the 28 rival teams. Whitworth birdied four of the first six holes, then Wright, in her first competition in five years, got into the swing of it.

"That's awful good," said Bob Goalby. "Were they playing from the same tees?" Yes . . .

Meanwhile, back on the LPGA tour, Judy Clark bogeyed her first hole yet shot a tournament-record 64, a season LPGA low, for a two-stroke lead in the $175,000 S&H Classic in St. Petersburg, Fla.