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Monday, April 13, 1998

Eagle boys 5th, girls 10th at Big Spring

PECOS, Apr. 13 -- The final meet before District 4-4A
competition produced two gold medals and 49 points for the
Pecos Eagles boys' track team, while Pecos' girls had a
tougher time, getting just one medal and 10 points at last
Thursday's Big Spring Relays.

San Angelo Lake View easily won the boys' division with 155
points to 80 for Andrews. Hobbs was third with 61 points,
followed by Odessa High with 52 and then Pecos. The girls'
10 points left them 10th in their division, won by the host
Steers with 101 points to 94 for Abilene Wylie.

The boys got gold medal efforts from seniors Jeff Brownlee
and Billy Rodriguez. Brownlee won the shot put with a
50-foot-11_ throw, while Rodriguez took the 800 meter dash
with a 1:58.22 time.

Rodriguez beat out San Angelo Lake View's Justin Daniel by
two seconds. Daniel and Sweetwater's Jason Sepeda of
Sweetwater will be Rodriguez' main competition for a
regional berth at Friday's district track meet.

"Billy's really matured a lot in the 800 meter run," said
coach Mike Ferrell. "The 800 is not considered a distance
race anymore. It's more of a sprinter's race.

"On the second lap in the first turn Billy makes his move
... he gets his lead up large enough so you won't be able to
overcome it, and if you do, you just ran a good race," he

Rodriguez also finished fifth in the 1600 meter run, with a
4:46.72 time.

Neither Brownlee nor teammate Jake Fowler had been beaten by
a district rival in either the shot put or discus until
Thursday, when Lake View's Luis Hernandez threw 48-4 in the
shot to take third and beat out Fowler, whose 47-4 throw put
him in fifth place.

"Their young man (Hernandez) is a sophomore, and he threw
real well, but Jake's a senior and has been in the trenches
before and is a returning letterman, and I think all that
will come into play Friday," Ferrell said. "I'd like to get
40-plus points out of those two events."

Fowler and Brownlee were well ahead of their other 4-4A
rivals in the discus, though both were beaten out by
Stamford's Jeremy Stinnett. He threw 155-feet to win that
event, compared for Fowler's second place 149-4½ and
Brownlee's 147-1½.

Pecos also got field event points from Orlando Matta, fifth
in the triple jump with a 40-2½ effort, and Jomar Gallego,
sixth in the long jump with an 18-10 leap.

Pecos' other points came from Lucio Florez, who was fourth
in the 300 meter hurdles with a 42.10 time, and from the
1600 meter relay team, which placed fifth with a 3:38.18

"Lucio ran a 41.4 in the prelims, and I think that prepares
him to go under 41 at district," said Ferrell, adding that
aside from the mile relay squad, all the Eagles' times were
their best so far this season.

The girls' points all came from senior Marsol Arenivas. She
placed third in the 1600 meter run, though her 5:40.60 time
was less than two seconds behind winner Chanie Sutherland of
Odessa High, and earlier finished fourth in the 3200 meters,
with one 4-4A rival, Lake View's Brandie Powell, placing a
spot ahead of her in third.

The District 4-4A track meet will be held this Friday in
Fort Stockton. Coaches were scheduled to meet Tuesday to
submit their entries for the various events.

Practice makes perfect for O'Meara

AP Sports Writer
AUGUSTA, Ga., Apr. 13 -- Mark O'Meara had hit the putt
during a practice round, knowing the hole would be there on
the 18th green in the final round of the Masters, but not
realizing he would be there with so much at stake.

Neither did anyone else.

The cheers on Sunday were for Jack Nicklaus, teasing a
breathless gallery with one more run at another green
jacket. And for Fred Couples, who took himself out of
contention as quickly as he got back in it with
unforgettable shots on the par-5s.

When O'Meara lined up his 20-foot birdie putt on the 72nd
hole, thousands of fans had already lined the 10th fairway
in anticipation of a playoff between him, Couples and David

``Am I nervous a little bit? Yeah,'' O'Meara said. ``But
there was no need to set the playoff. `I can put this in my
hands and finish it off.' ''

That's what he did, raising both arms defiantly after the
putt fell, giving him a 5-under-par 67 for 279 and a
one-stroke victory.

``We had a great round, but we got beat by somebody who
played a great round the last round of the Masters,'' said

A great round was lurking. With only a soft breeze, the
table was set for the kind of back-nine charge that makes
the Masters special, and there were plenty of players on the
leaderboard who were capable.

Tiger Woods was not one of them. One year after his record
18-under 270 gave him a 12-stroke victory and raised
concerns that Augusta was obsolete, Woods never managed to
break 70 and finished six strokes back.

``People just don't know how hard this golf course is,''
Woods said after a round of 70 that included his third
three-putt of the week.

For a while, a 58-year-old man with six green jackets made
it look easy again. Nicklaus birdied four of the first seven
holes, rocking Augusta with roars that only he can generate.

But after getting to 5 under with a birdie on the 15th, his
next three putts for birdie all missed by no more than an

``To have all the people out there, knowing that might be
the last time you walk in front of them with the chance to
do something good was a pretty nice feeling,'' Nicklaus said
after closing with a 68.

O'Meara was a forgotten man, fifth in career earnings with
14 PGA Tour victories, but none of them a major
championship. The 41-year-old would have thought no less of
himself had he not had a major to his credit at the end of
his career, but he never quit trying in 56 previous

``I know that this game has always been based around
performance of major championships,'' O'Meara said. ``I know
that there's been comments about why I haven't won a major.
I think timing and a little luck -- that's what wins major

A hot putter never hurts, especially at Augusta.

The previous four Masters champions had but one three-putt
between them -- Nick Faldo in 1986. O'Meara had a three-putt
par on the second hole of the second round, and no more the
rest of the week.

``I've played enough with Mark. That's just how he putts,''
said Duval, who teamed with O'Meara in the President's Cup.
``He's one of the best putters out here, and he makes an
awful lot of them.''

O'Meara got a lift when he dropped a pair of bombs on the
third and fourth holes for birdie, but he saved the best for
the end.

His birdie putt from 7 feet on the 17th finally made people
take notice, if only because it put him in a share of the
lead with Couples and Duval.

Couples never lost his composure, but it's a wonder he ever
caught up to his tee shot on No. 13. Leading Duval by one,
he hooked it so far left that it ripped through the pines
and over Rae's Creek before coming to rest on a dirt path.
He hit a wedge over the trees to the fairway, then put a
6-iron into the creek on his way to a double bogey.

``I just had a big blunder on 13,'' Couples said. ``That was
the deciding blow.''

He got it back with a 6-iron to 2 feet for eagle on No. 15,
but gave himself only one other chance for birdie -- a
10-footer at No. 17. He missed it.

Up ahead, Duval was at 9 under on the 16th tee, having made
birdie on five of the previous seven holes and looking like
another 20-something player who was going to claim a major.

But he three-putted the 16th, and his birdie attempt on No.
18 -- about the same putt O'Meara had -- slid beneath the

O'Meara chugged along, with a two-putt birdie on No. 15, a
two-putt par on the 16th, before closing with two birdie

``I was extremely relaxed over them,'' O'Meara said. ``I
kept my composure, and you have to do that.''

He also took time to soak in the moment long before he
seized it. He gazed at the beauty of Augusta's azaleas,
watched the sun setting as he walked up the 17th fairway.

As for those fans who headed to 10th fairway for the playoff
that never happened?

``I did not notice that,'' O'Meara said.

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