A calm Rocco Mediate took the lead and an exercised Paul Azinger took his shot at Poppy Hills.

Azinger lost three strokes yesterday to par -- and his lead in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am -- on the first two holes of the controversial course that is making its initial appearance in the tournament.

"I don't want to get fined," Azinger said when asked for his assessment of the four-year-old public course that replaced Cypress Point in the three-course rotation for the event.

"Let's just put it this way: The best hole on the course definitely is the 19th."

While Azinger was going from water to sand and, eventually, to a 1-over-par 73, Mediate finished eagle, birdie, par at Spyglass Hill for 69 and a one-shot edge, 11 under at 205.

Davis Love III shot 69 at Poppy Hills for 206. Azinger and John Cook (69 at Pebble Beach) are at 207.

Mediate, not yet a winner in six PGA Tour seasons, said: "Sure, I'll be nervous" in today's final round at Pebble Beach, "but so will everyone else. I feel like I can handle that now. I've just got to go out and do what I'm supposed to do on my favorite golf course in the whole world."

He was in position to do it last year, when he held second place after 54 holes, then blew to a 77 as Mark O'Meara romped home with a repeat triumph in the event formerly known as the "Crosby Clambake."

Mediate won't have to worry about O'Meara today. O'Meara's 73 at Pebble Beach gave him a 219 total, missing the cut for the final round.

Curtis Strange, Lanny Wadkins and Jack Nicklaus too failed to make it. Nicklaus, in fact, was beaten by his son Jackie, 221 to 222.


Meg Mallon, seeking her first tour victory, started with a 60-foot birdie putt en route to a 3-under-par 69 for a 54-hole 205 and a two-stroke lead entering the final round of the $400,000 LPGA Classic at Wycliffe in Lake Worth, Fla. Betsy King was next, also on a 69.

Dottie Mochrie, who shared the second-round lead with Mallon and Colleen Walker, double-bogeyed the first hole, reaching the water with her second shot after a poor drive into the rough; she went on to a 72. Walker took 77 -- 216.

Nancy Lopez, one off the lead after two rounds, double-bogeyed No. 3, bogeyed No. 4 and came in at 76 -- 213.

Senior PGA:

Gary Player, with a putter he's used since 1961, made seven birdies on rolls from as far as 35 feet and shot 6-under-par 65 in the Royal Caribbean Classic on the Links at Key Biscayne, Fla.

At 132, he leads by two over Chi Chi Rodriguez (68).