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No worries on this day



Published: Mon, July 30, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



VIENNA -- Clint Begay is a study in contrasts. He's a Native American who Sunday wore a ball cap bearing the offensive logo of the Cleveland Indians.

He also presents a hulking figure which belies the demeanor inside, a calming influence that certainly was a major factor in Dorothy Delasin's 7-under par 65 Sunday and come-from-behind championship at Squaw Creek Country Club.

If the name sounds familiar, it should. Clint is the older brother of Notah Begay, a member of the PGA Tour and Tiger Woods' roommate at Stanford.

He's been carrying Delasin's bag for the past eight weeks, during which time he noticed a disturbing trend in her game.

"Every week she's played solid, but on every nine there's always been one or two bad holes and then she'd have to play catch-up," he said.

"I told her, 'eliminate the big numbers, stay patient and you'll have a chance every week.' "

Played 6-under: Delasin gave herself that chance with solid, if unspectacular rounds on Friday and Saturday. She finished 3-under par both days, scoring 10 birdies and four bogies, to trail leader Se Ri Pak by four shots.

"Even the three bogies on Saturday weren't dumb bogies," said Begay. "It was just a case where she hit a bad shot and couldn't recover."

Begay's medicine following black number holes: "Just make par on the next one. That's all. Put [the bogey] out of your mind; hang in there and fight it out."

"Patience is a virtue" is what Begay preaches to Delasin on a daily basis.

"I tell [every week] that I have a feeling this will be the tournament," he said. "That she hasn't had a solid 18 [holes] all year.

"I say that every week, hoping that will be the week it comes true," he continued. "I guess today was the day."

Early ideas: Begay said his first inkling that Delasin could make a run came on the first green, when she ran a putt 5 feet past the hole, but saved par with a difficult comebacker.

"I wouldn't let her look at the scoreboard all day," said Begay, "but I know she peeked at it on the 16 fairway. She told me.

"All I told her was, at 15, 'we're in good position.' At 16, 17 and 18, I told her, just make pars; make her [Tammie Green] come get us. Let her take the chances."

Delasin did just that, finishing par-par-par after consecutive birdies from 13 to 15.

Begay, 26, caddied for his younger brother last year on the PGA Tour for six events. Notah Begay won two of them and finished third in another. Part of the deal for caddying was that he had to return to school in the fall, Clint said.

Graduated: Clint Begay, who is half Navajo, half Pueblo from New Mexico, kept his part of the deal, graduating from the University of Hawaii-Hilo in May. He picked up Delasin's bag shortly thereafter.

"I couldn't believe it when she said she had never had a full-time caddie before," said Begay. "I thought she needed someone like me, who had been through it [with Notah]. I've tried to teach her how to deal with the media, the game, winning, losing ... help her to understand she could probably get through this thing.

"I take care of her."

Begay had a feeling after Saturday's play that Delasin could contend for the championship.

"I said, 'if we shoot 6-under tomorrow we can win.' I was off by one.

"If we had eliminated the mistakes [Friday and Saturday] we would have run away with this thing."

Begay said Delasin won the tournament after she made bogey on No. 11.

"I wouldn't let her look at the scoreboard," he said. "I told her, 'You have to play the course. You can't worry about what anyone else is doing.' "

And in the end, Delasin had no worries. Just a trophy, a bouquet of roses and a good friend in her corner.

XRob Todor is sports editor of The Vindicator. Write to him at todor@vindy.com.




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