Chased closely by University of Maryland golf coach Fred Funk, Bobby Wadkins, who throughout his winless golfing career has been overshadowed by younger brother Lanny, shot a 4-under-par 68 yesterday to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the 69th PGA Championship in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

At 69 were veteran touring pro David Edwards and Funk, who has tried and failed three times to earn tour playing rights.

"Whether you do something good or something bad," Funk said, "people will remember it with a name like 'Funk.' "

Funk, a 1980 graduate of Maryland, has coached the Terrapins for the past five years. He won the Maryland Open twice, in 1983 and 1987, and the Middle Atlantic PGA Pro-Am five times. Yesterday, he made a 35-foot birdie putt at the final hole for his 69.

Wadkins twice hit iron shots within three feet of the hole and birdied the par-5 18th by two-putting from 45 feet.

"The fairways were perfect, the rough was unplayable and the greens were so-so," he said. "The real tournament doesn't start until the final nine holes on Sunday, but it's nice to get off to a good start."

Wadkins' brother was among a limited number of big names -- Tom Watson among them -- who broke par over the PGA National Golf Club course, but the opening round of the final major event of the year was an ordeal for most in the 150-man field.

Jim Petralia, 44, a club pro from Pasadena, Calif., shot a 19-over 91 -- only five shots worse than the 86 carded by European tour leading money-winner Ian Woosnam.

The group at 70 included Lanny Wadkins, Strange, Raymond Floyd, Bernhard Langer, Larry Nelson and Watson -- who played in an all-star threesome with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

Nicklaus and Palmer both shot 76, with Palmer's round highlighted by a 40-foot eagle putt at the par-5 11th, after which he did a dance and bowed to the crowd.

Funk also putted well, starting with a 40-footer on the first hole.

"When I made the turn, I was even par," Funk said. "Bob Lohr was at 4 under, but when I looked back up later, Lohr was gone and, with my birdies on 13 and 15, I was right up there.

"When I saw my name at the top of the leader board after 18, I thought it was neat. I had been really down on my game after two or three practice rounds. I wasn't missing by much, but on this course it was enough to hurt you. I knew I was close to my game, but I never expected this."

Funk said he "played real solid. . . . The key here is not missing the fairways because the rough is so tough. In practice this week, I was in the right-hand rough a lot. And when that happens, you just have to hack it back onto the fairway. . . . A friend told me to move the ball up in my stance. . . . Now that I moved up, {the ball} went onto the fairway. Being in the fairway gave me a free shot at the hole, and made it easy."

Temperatures were in the mid-90s, the humidity was close to 70 percent and winds were 15 mph.

Conditions favored the early starters and, among those who played in the afternoon, only Floyd shot 70 or better.

Two-time PGA champion Lee Trevino withdrew before the round began with a pulled muscle in his rib cage and Calvin Peete (back pain) withdrew after a round of 75. Canadian Dave Barr also withdrew.

LPGA:

Shelley Hamlin, wearing running shoes instead of golf shoes because of blisters, carded a 5-under-par 67 to take the first-round lead in the $300,000 Henredon Classic in High Point, N.C.

By the time Hamlin rested her feet, however, Hall of Famer Kathy Whitworth, North Carolina native Dot Germain, Laurie Rinker and Colleen Walker had come in at 68.