LOS ANGELES, FEB. 28 -- Chip Beck, 31, who was beginning to wonder if he would ever win, mastered the rain-soaked Riviera Country Club course with a 3-under-par 68 today to win the $750,000 Los Angeles Open.

Seven times a runner-up but never a winner in his nine years on the PGA Tour, he opened a comfortable lead when he birdied the last three holes on the front nine.

He finished at 17-under-par 267, four shots ahead of Mac O'Grady and Bill Sander.

Rain halted play twice for nearly two hours, once in the early morning and again just before noon.

Beck began the round at 14-under-par, good for a three-shot lead on Jay Haas, Ed Fiori and Steve Elkington of Australia.

Haas got within a stroke with a birdie on the fifth hole to go to 12-under. But Beck, who had slipped to 13-under with a bogey on No. 3, birdied the seventh, eighth and ninth holes to close out the front nine with a 33.

He padded his lead by one more shot with a 1-under 35 on the back nine, and picked up the $135,000 winner's check.

Sander, who had finished no higher than fourth in a tournament since joining the Tour in 1978, knocked in a chip shot from off the green for a birdie on the final hole to finish with a 66.

O'Grady, close to the lead throughout the tournament, shot a closing 68.

Beck, who played at the University of Georgia, hasn't starved on the tour. In 1983 he won $149,909. Last year, he earned $523,003. Since he joined the PGA Tour in 1978, he has earned nearly $1.5 million.

His list of second-place finishes includes the 1986 U.S. Open, the Championships of Golf and the Tucson Open, the last two events of 1987.

ESP Open:

Greg Norman won the $175,000 event in Canberra by seven strokes. He has won three of his last five tournaments and finished a stroke back in each of the other two.

He closed with a 4-under-par 68 and finished with a 269 total, 19 under par. He got $32,000.

"The back nine was boring," he said. "My caddy said, 'Let's go for 20 under par,' but I said, 'We're going to win anyway.' "

Bernhard Langer, who had a final-round 69, finished at 276.


Gary Player shot a last-round 67 and held off Dave Hill to win the $300,000 PGA event in Naples, Fla.

Hill made a hole-in-one on the 16th hole, but Player replied with a tee shot that landed six inches from the cup on the par-3, 157-yard hole.

Player took the $45,000 winner's check with a 207 total at Pelican Bay, and first-round leader Hill also finished with a final-round 67, and one shot back for the tournament.

"I was so frustrated on Saturday," said Player, who was in second place coming into the final round. "It was like fighting the law of averages. I told my caddy after we made the turn in 36, 'I'm going to come back in 30.' Actually I came back in 31."