Angelo Spagnolo shot a 185-over-par 257 yesterday -- including a 66 on the 17th hole -- to win the title of the Worst Avid Golfer in America at the Tournament Players Club in Ponte Vedra, Fla.

Spagnolo, of Fayette City, Pa., who lost five dozen golf balls in the process, overtook Jack Pulford of Moline, Ill., on the back nine to take the honors.

"I used to bowl but my scores were so bad I took up golf," Spagnolo said. "Now my golf scores are higher than my bowling scores used to be. The only advantage was I lost less balls bowling."

Pulford made the turn with a 68-over-par 104 and finished with a 208, good for second place in the tournament. Spagnolo had a 97 after nine holes.

Joel Mosser of Aurora, Colo., carded 75-117 -- 192 and Kelly Ireland of Tyler, Tex., was at 89-90 for the day's low score of 179. The men took seven hours to tour the 6,857-yard, par-72 course.

Ireland set the tone for the tournament on the first stroke of the day, smashing a 15-foot tee shot that landed in the second row of the bleachers.

The four men were singled out by Golf Digest as the worst avid golfers in America. They had to meet some rigid qualifications: carry a handicap of at least 36 and be men of at least reasonable physical ability who play a minimum of 21 rounds a year.

Spagnolo clinched the title on the course's most famous hole, the 132-yard 17th, which has a green surrounded by water. He put 27 balls into the water and scored a 66 on the hole . . .

Candi Kessler of Charlottesville and Kim Williams of Bethesda were among 16 players to advance in the 85th annual Women's Western Golf Association National Amateur Championship in Ann Arbor, Mich. The final round is scheduled for Saturday.