Mark O'Meara was the leader, but all the attention was focused on Ray Floyd's foursome yesterday at the Bob Hope Classic.

That's because Floyd was golfing with former president Gerald Ford, Hope and New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor.

An enormous mob of Secret Service men, photographers, reporters and thousands of spectators accompanied the group around the Indian Wells Country Club in Indian Wells, Calif. It turned into an 18-hole party.

The fans had a ball, shouting and yelling, romping and running along the fairways. The 87-year-old Hope stole the show when he holed a 20-yard chip shot on 18.

"That'll be on tape forever," said Floyd, who missed a two-foot birdie putt on the same hole. Floyd finished with a 64 for a 72-hole sum of 269, five strokes back of O'Meara with today's round to go.

While the glamour boys got the attention at the 90-hole, four-course tournament, Scott Hoch played the best golf of the day at La Quinta. He toured the front side in 29, was 9 under for the round through 12 and had thoughts of a 59, accomplished only once in PGA Tour history, by Al Geiberger.

"I started pressing," Hoch said. "I played the last six like I had a lump in my throat."

He said he also started thinking about the $1 million bonus offered to a pro who breaks 60 in PGA Tour competition. But he parred the last six holes and finished with a 63. His four-round total was 268, four strokes back of the lead.

O'Meara, who last week missed a chance at a third consecutive victory in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, shot 67 at Bermuda Dunes to get 24 under.

Tim Simpson, who shared the second- and third-round leads, was at 265 after shooting 68 on the Arnold Palmer course at PGA West.

The PGA Tour record for a 90-hole tournament is 27 under, and that seems easily in reach today, when everyone plays Indian Wells.

Senior PGA:

Scores soared in the wind at the Suncoast Classic and a round of par 72 by Bob Charles was good enough to vault him into the lead with a 140 total for 36 holes of the 54-hole event at the Tampa Palms club in Florida.


First-round leader Beth Daniel was six strokes off her opening 67, but her 140 total kept her on top through 36 holes of the 54-hole Phar-Mor Classic at Inverrary in Lauderhill, Fla.

Hiromi Kobayashi, also with a 1-over-par 73, was at 141, a stroke ahead of Karen Davies (70), Colleen Walker (74), Janet Anderson (70) and Nancy Lopez (69).

Australian Matchplay:

Chris Patton, the 1989 U.S. Amateur champion, momentarily blew victory with a double bogey on 18 but beat Australia's Brad Hughes on the first extra hole to gain a berth in today's final in Melbourne. His rival for the $28,000 first prize: another Australian, Ken Dukes, who surprised Peter Senior, 2 and 1.

Australian Skins:

The country's top four golfers -- Greg Norman, Wayne Grady, Ian Baker-Finch and Rodger Davis -- halved all 18 holes in the first round of the $117,000 event in Port Douglas. They rolled the pot of nearly $52,000 over to today's first hole.