Photographers had 363 days left last week, perhaps not a day too many, to match this picture taken by David Smith of the Associated Press during the first round, January 2, of the Los Angeles Open. Smith's camera has just caught close to four score mouths agape—including that of Professional Golfer Doug Sanders (center), who caused it all—at the precise moment Sanders' 75-foot putt on the broad and steep 18th green at the Rancho Golf Club disappeared into the hole.
It is said that oldtimers can reckon the exact length of a putt on a nearby green from the volume and duration of the gallery's shout, but the sonics of this one must have puzzled them. For the first round the pin was at the extreme left and rear of the green. Sanders' approach shot barely made the right edge of the green, and he spent nearly a minute in the fussy ritual of lining up his putt. He aimed the ball eight inches to the right of the hole, figuring the slope would bend it in. As the ball rolled uphill across the vast reaches of the green, the gallery grew murmurous, then erupted. "Even a blind pig can find an acorn," said Sanders, as he carded a birdie three for a first-round 66.
Triumphant Golfer Sanders is 25 years old, plays out of Miami Beach, and last year won $17,000 and the Western Open. In the Los Angeles Open, lavish beginning of the winter tour, he kept his touch well enough to finish fourth in tournament, which Ken Venturi won.