Quigley savors Red Sox's win, shoots 65 at Schwab Championship

Friday, October 22nd 2004, 6:08 am
By: News On 6

SONOMA, Calif. (AP) _ Dana Quigley's mother got two big presents for her 91st birthday Thursday: Her beloved Boston Red Sox are in the World Series, and her equally fanatical son played a fine round at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Quigley, golfing in a rhapsodic haze after Boston's clinching victory over the Yankees a night earlier, shot a 7-under 65 to move one stroke behind Astros fan Tom Kite and one stroke ahead of Cardinals supporter Hale Irwin at Sonoma Golf Club.

``I told my wife this morning that I felt different today than in any first round I've ever played,'' Quigley said. ``I couldn't pinpoint why, but I'm sure it's because my mind is somewhere else. My mind is on the Red Sox. It really has taken my mind off being nervous about golf.''

Boston beat the New York Yankees 10-3 Wednesday night to cap a comeback from a 3-0 deficit to win the AL championship series. Quigley missed Johnny Damon's grand slam while playing in the pro-am _ but he heard about it thanks to nonstop updates on his cell phone from friends and family.

And from his red hat to the goatee he's growing to honor Boston's hairy roster, Quigley's mind was on the Sox in the opening round.

``It was the easiest round of golf I played on tour this year,'' said Quigley, who thought about frosting his hair blond to honor Kevin Millar before choosing chin hair. ``I never fretted or sweated over a single shot. Just by being relaxed, I think I was able to play good golf. Now I'm in here thanking the Red Sox for a great first round.''

Quigley's mother, Dot, is among the oldest and most devoted fans in the entire Red Sox Nation. She was born in 1913 _ a year after Fenway Park opened _ and was a budding fan the last time Boston won the World Series in 1918.

Her son collects Red Sox memorabilia for her, and she watches nearly every game on television _ including the West Coast games. They spoke after the Sox finished off the Yankees.

``I told her she's going to see a world champion in Boston before she dies,'' Quigley said.

Quigley and Kite had outstanding starts at the tour's season-ending event, where the tournament winner gets $435,000 and the winner of the season-long Schwab Cup competition takes home a $1 million annuity.

Irwin, who shot a 66, leads the Schwab Cup standings by 39 points over Craig Stadler, who matched Morris Hatalsky and Jose Maria Canizares with a 68.

But even the rest of the pros were thrilled for Quigley, a baseball junkie who grew up in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

``I'm sure he was gloating like crazy, as he should be,'' said Kite, who lives in Austin, Texas. ``I'm pleased, but I didn't expect to see these kinds of scores.''

The players praised the revamped Sonoma course, but bemoaned the standing water still left over from Tuesday's rainstorm. The greens were difficult and the rough was murderous _ and yet the leaders still set a pace that could exceed Jim Thorpe's tournament-winning 20 under from last year, when the course was much easier.

While Quigley played bogey-free golf and Kite cruised with two exceptional long putts, Irwin struggled to keep up, making six par saves.

``I got a whole stack of flour to make some bread. I was grinding out there,'' said Irwin, who was born in Missouri and lived in St. Louis for many years. ``If I'd had some grapes, I'd have made some wine.''