Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bellerive's Tucker Rides Emotional Roller Coaster

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bellerive's Tucker Rides Emotional Roller Coaster

Article excerpt

For nine soft-but-surly holes at Lake Forest Golf & Cuntry Club, Jerry Tucker owned the Nike Gateway Classic. Not a fairway escaped him, not a green was missed, not a putt strayed off line.

Tucker, 45, the club pro from Bellerive Country Club, made the turn with a four-under-par 32 and a trail of smoke behind him.

"A day like this . . . I really had visions of a 66," Tucker said. "Everything was going my way - for a while."

After draining a 25-foot putt for a birdie on the par-3 No. 11, Tucker was 5-under-par and leading the tournament.

"When you're making birdies, you think you're bullet-proof," Tucker said.

Over the next few holes, bullets bounced off him. On No. 12, Tucker missed his first fairway of the day and launched his second shot toward a creek in front of the green. But the ball was playable and Tucker got up and down to save par.

"Don't wake up, Jerry, don't wake up," Linda Tucker, his wife, said as she watched.

On No. 13, Tucker missed the fairway again and had to punch out from behind trees to have a shot at the green. A gutsy approach left him eight feet from the hole and his putt rimmed the cup and dropped for another par.

On No. 14, his second shot again sailed to the right, but it hit a cart path and ricocheted into shallow rough. He hit the green and two-putted for par. He then added another par on No. 15.

"He's in some kind of zone," said Bob Tucker, Jerry's father.

And Jerry Tucker knew it: "I admit to nothing but vanity," he said. "I was looking at the leader board. It was fun to see (his name) up there."

It was no fun to see it come down.

In three deflating holes, Jerry Tucker's excellent adventure came to an exasperating conclusion. A double-bogey on No. 16, preceeded bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18. The jig was up.

Four strokes, so magnificently wrestled from the high rough and glassy greens of Lake Forest, were given back. …

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