The last lingering doubt that Jose-Maria Olazabal would win the World Series of Golf was dispelled when he started with consecutive birdies in the final round yesterday in Akron, Ohio.
"I was 12 ahead with 16 holes to go. I never had that kind of a lead before. I didn't know what to do," the 24-year-old Spaniard said.
So he just went on to the largest victory margin in 15 years on the American pro tour, 12 shots.
"Go on home. Get the hell out of here," a laughing Lanny Wadkins said after congratulating Olazabal on his first U.S. victory.
After going 12 in front on the second hole, Olazabal turned the last round into a victory lap over the Firestone Country Club that he dominated as no one ever had.
"I never thought I'd see 18 under at Firestone," said Wadkins, who held the previous record at 13. "I didn't think I'd live to see 13 under broken, let alone finish second to it."
For the other 46 men in the international field of winners only, it was an exercise in frustration, with more than a trace of humiliation.
Olazabal led all the way and set a flock of course and tournament records. "The most amazing thing is that there were only three guys within 18 strokes," Wadkins said.
Olazabal, now unquestioned as the outstanding young player in the world, won with rounds of 61, 67, 67, 67 on the 7,149-yard, par-70 course he was, unbelievably, playing for the first time.
He set course and tournament records, and 1990 PGA Tour marks, for 18 holes (61), 36 holes (128), 54 holes (195) and 72 holes (262).
Wadkins, Hale Irwin and Donnie Hammond were the only others under par. Wadkins, with a 66, took second at 274. U.S. Open champion Irwin had 74 -- 277, Hammond 71 -- 279.
And then there was John Huston, a winner in Florida this year. He finished 45 strokes behind.
"The best players not only play all over the world, but the best of the best win all over the world," said Olazabal, a frequent winner abroad. "To prove you're good, you have to win everywhere."
The $198,000 first prize lifted him into the season's top 30 money-winners and could qualify him for the $3.5 million season-ending Nabisco Championship. But he said he doubted he would return to the United States for that October event.
He also won a 10-year exemption from qualifying for U.S. PGA Tour events, but indicated he probably would stick to playing only seven or eight events a year in this country.
"I like what I'm doing now pretty well," he said.
U.S. Amateur: Long-hitting left-hander Phil Mickelson added the title to his two NCAA championships, beating Manny Zerman, 5 and 4, in the scheduled 36-hole final at Cherry Hills in Englewood, Colo.
Mickelson, 20, of Arizona State, was 5 under par through the 32 holes the match lasted. He birdied five of his last 12 holes to hold off Zerman, 20, his former San Diego high school teammate now of the University of Arizona.
Mickelson, 3 up after the morning 18, immediately dropped the first two holes of the afternoon. But Zerman couldn't pull even.
PGA Chattanooga: PGA Tour rookie Peter Persons scored his first victory, taking the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Classic by two strokes over Richard Zokol with a tournament-record 20-under-par 260.
Maryland's Fred Funk made a run at the title before tying Kenny Knox for third at 264 on the Valleybrook course, earning $34,800.
Dave Rummells tied Knox's day-old course record with a 61, but never challenged as Persons fired a closing 67 and won $108,000.
Funk ran off four consecutive birdies beginning at No. 7 and moved within three shots of the lead. Then Persons birdied 10 and Funk bogeyed 11 and 12.
LPGA: Beth Daniel shot a bogeyless 68 to finish 13 under par at 203 for 54 holes and won the Northgate Classic by six strokes. It was the third victory in the last four tournaments for the 1990 LPGA champion and money leader.
Daniel, following up her 66-69 on Friday and Saturday on the Edinburgh USA course in Brooklyn Park, Minn., won $56,250 for a season total of $613,782.
Senior PGA: George Archer beat Bruce Crampton by two strokes with 11-under-par 205 for 54 holes in the Northwest Classic in Kenmore, Wash. His $52,500 check put his 1990 earnings at $511,138, third on the tour.