The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on June 19, 1989 · Page 18
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 18

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Indianapolis, Indiana
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Monday, June 19, 1989
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Page 18
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Section B The Indianapolis Star MONDAY, JUNE 19, 1989 Obituaries. Sports fcjSr Bill .r$J4 Benner Strangers Open win Hogan-like TD OCHESTER. N.Y. On the surface, the story of the final round of Sunday's 89th U.S. Open can be summed up rather easily. . There was the big winner. Curtis Strange. There was the big loser, Tom Kite. Simple as that, right? Well, not quite. Certainly, there can be no denying Strange's accomplishment. His one-shot victory made him the first player since Ben Hogan in 1950 and '51 to defend his Open championship. That is no sports Everest Strange is one of six players to do it but it's certainly no molehill, either. Because there are no surer tests of skills, smarts and poise than those provided by the courses the United States Golf Association seeks out for its national championship. It is not just a matter of beating the field, which Is difficult enough. The Open champion must also stand up to the rigors of being on trial with each and every stroke drives, approaches, trouble shots, short game, putts. As Tom Kite discovered or re-learned what he already knew one imprecise shot in the most precise game of all can send you spinning toward defeat. Add to that the pressures both internal and external of defending a championship, and everyone must admit that Strange has done something quite remarkable. "I've never met Mr. Hogan." said Strange. "Obviously, as great a player as he was, it's a great feeling to do not so much what Ben Hogan did, but what others have not done. The great Arnold Palmer. Jack Nicklaus. Tom Watson, those guys have never won back-to-back Opens. It feels fantastic. But I don't put a lot on Mr. Hogan being the last to do it. I put a lot on it not being done In so long." A year ago. Strange dedicated his Open victory at The Country Club in Brookllne, Mass.. to his father, Tom Strange, a club pro who got him started in the game but died when Curtis was 14 years old. - Sunday, he had a new dedication. "Last year was for my Dad and everybody who helped me along the way." Strange said. "This one's for my wife, Sarah, and my sons. Tom and David. They're as much a part of me winning as anybody. You have to sacrifice a lot to play this tour. It's a team effort, and I couldn't do it without them." And Sunday's big winner, Strange, also could feel for Sunday's big loser. Kite. "Tom was the one leading the golf tournament and when you do that, you always feel you should be very close at the end if. not win," Strange said. "But he's too good a player to let this destroy his year. He's had too good a record. He'll be back." And. Indeed. Kite vowed he will. , It is said that the true measure of a man is not how he revels in victory and the good times, but how he handles adversity and defeat. And in a truly class manner, Kite set aside his disappointment to meet the press that was waiting to write again how he had failed to win a major championship. Kite didn't sugar-coat It. He didn't make excuses. "My play stunk." he said. "I played unbelievably bad." Someone asked Kite If this was the most difficult situation he'd faced in his career. "I'm sure there will be others." he said. "But I will survive it. I promise you. It is a bitter pill to swallow, no question. You don't like having a chance of winning any tournament, much less a major championship, and performing the way I did today. " "I guess the shock is that this will be by far the worst round I've had this year (it Is). It Is by far the worst round I've had In five or six years. You don't go by the reputation of See BENNER Page 2 'f V i r r , ?FlW f f , i r ) v I : . - (; -jy f -. ' fttfk "s!" - I J ( vi- (Mm s y Curtis Strange coaxes in a birdie on the 16th hole that helped Fittipaldi takes bumpy CART win at By RICK SHAFFER STAR STAFF WRITER Detroit. Mich. And people thought Emerson Fittipaldi had an exciting time winning the Indianapolis 500. The reigning "500" champ pocketed $144,160 in capturing Sunday's inaugural Valvoline Detroit Grand Prix and crossed the finish line 29.5 seconds ahead of an impressive Scott Pruett. And like Indianapolis, it also was a wild race. Before a crowd estimated at 50,000 on the streets of downtown Detroit, Fittipaldi. the driver of the Marlboro PC-18Chevy: Banged wheels with Mario Andretti in the first corner of the second lap and punctured a tire In the process; Went from 27th to third Raul Boesel (30) ran out of IST" I 'sili"" 3 &yS MfcaNl:tw rlT" .!.... ' 1 - CART STANDINGS 1. Emerson Fittipaldi 65 1. Rick Mears 65 3. Al Unser Jr. 55 4. Michael Andretti 49 5. Mario Andretti 37 6. Teo Fabi 34 6. Raul Boesel - 34 8. Scott Pruett . 31 9. Danny Sullivan 22 9. Arie Luyendyk 22 and then banged wheels with Andretti a second time, stalling the engine: Got it restarted and trailed race leader Michael Andretti by 79 seconds: Moved up to second when Michael made an emergency stop and then passed Pruett for the lead with four laps left to win. "It was an active race from Lap 1 on," understated Fittipaldi room trying to pass Derek Daly ' - ASSOCIATED PRESS him defend his U.S. Open title. who captured his eighth career Indy-car win at 76.1 13 mph and vaulted into a tie for the CARTPPG points lead with Rick Mears (65 points apiece). "I punctured a tire when I touched wheels with Mario and It looked like he got hit from behind." Actually, Andretti was trying to pass on the outside of Turn 1 and was slightly ahead of Fittipaldi when they touched. The contact caused Andretti to spin his K martHavoline LolaChevy into the barrier and that hampered his drive. - "I had more damage than I thought when I spun." Mario said. "I hit the wall square and it bent the front wishbone." The Incident dropped Andretti down to 25th and Fitti (10) in Turn 3 during Sunday's Cool Strange keeps crown at U.S. Open By BILL BENNER STAR STAFF WRITER Rochester, N.Y. For the second straight year, the U.S. Open is the C.S. Closed. Curtis Strange, keeping his composure and holding his game together as others faltered, became the first player since Ben Hogan to defend his U.S. Open championship Sunday at Oak Hill Country Club. Strange, the 34-year-old from Klngsmill, Va., cooly strung 15 straight pars, birdied the 16th. then closed it out with a meaningless three-putt bogey at the 18th for an even-par 70, a 2-under 278 total and a one-shot victory over Mark McCumber, Ian Woosnam and Chip Beck. Strange thus became the sixth player in Open history to win back-to-back championships but the first since Hogan did It in 1950 and '51. "Last year was such an emotional victory . to dream about something so long and finally grab that trophy is such a reward." Strange said. "But this year, for a lot of reasons, is a feeling of success and accomplishment. To do this, to win the Open a second year in a row. is really something because it's something a lot of great players never did." Strange credited his patience as the key. From Saturday's third round to the 16th hole Sunday, he went 35 holes without making a birdie. But he avoided the disasters that struck many of the rest of the contenders, especially Tom Kite and Scott Simpson, who led Strange going Into the final round. "I played very well today," Strange said. "And what I did better than anyone else was patience, as simple as that. To go as long as I did without birdies, to hang in there, took guts. It's tough to play an Open golf course. It's a marathon in many ways. I felt I had to persevere and I did today." Strange moved into the lead after third-round leader Kite, who built a three-shot advantage through six holes, triple-bogeyed paldi to 27th. By Lap 19, however, Andretti was up to fourth and Fittipaldi sixth and both would influence each other's race again. ' In the meantime, pole-sitter Michael Andretti jumped into the lead (the race actually started on Lap 2 because Steve Saleen had stalled on the pace lap) and had little trouble keeping Al Unser Jr. at bay. Andretti, driving a team car to that of his father, led the first 44 laps of the race and 52 of the first 54 before being sidelined by one of the freak occurrences that seem to plague his family. A wire attached to his radio somehow got wrapped around the throttle pedal, holding it down. Michael stomped on the pedal and in the process of tak Detroit Grand Prix. Boesel wasn't the seventh hole. He had two more double bogeys on the back nine and faded to a 78. ; "My play stunk, there's not much you can say." said Kite, who was trying to add his first major championship to an otherwise distinguished career. "I'd been able to escape from my missed shots the first three rounds but today with every shot I missed, I Just got killed." continued the 39-year-old Texan. "They cost me and cost me dearly. It was a very long day." Simpson, the 1987 'Open champion who was Just one stroke behind Kite going into the final 18. double-bogeyed the eighth hole and never could quite recover. Simpson finished with a 74. "It was a real disappointing round for me and Tom." said Simpson. "It seemed like we couldn't do anything right. We missed a bunch of putts, hit some terrible shots and that about sums It up." Japan's Misashi "Jumbo" Ozaki threatened to make It a two-man duel with Strange, but See OPEN Page 2 SCORES AMERICAN LEAGUE Texas 5 New York 2 Baltimore 4 Oakland 2 Cleveland 4 Kansas City 1 California 3 Detroit 1 Seattle 8 Toronto 2 Minnesota 8 Milwaukee 6 Boston 7 Chicago 4 NATIONAL LEAGUE Chicago 5 Montreal 4 Philadelphia 6 New York 5 Pittsburgh 12 St. Louis 4 Houston 5 San Diego 2 San Francisco 2 Cincinnati 1 Los Angeles 5 Atlanta 3 AAA ALLIANCE Indians 2 Denver 1 Detroit ing it out of gear, bent the gear linkage. That necessitated a pit stop on Lap 55 where the crew, unaware of the wire, thought they had cured the problem. Three laps later, he was into the barrier at Cobo Hall when the throttle jammed once more. "It just goes to show you that there's nothing minor in this sport," Michael lamented. "The car was the best I've ever had on a street circuit. I couldn't have driven it any more easily." While Michael was taking it easy in front, his father and Fittipaldi were driving hard in a duel for second place. Heading into Turn 12 on Lap 48. Fittipaldi tried to outbrake Andretti See CART Page 5 ASSOCIATED PRESS hurt, but his car was.

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