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Mexican Teen Leads Monterrey Open

March 22, 1998

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) _ Oscar Serna birdied the 18th hole Saturday to take a one-shot lead over John Elliott entering the final round of the Nike Monterrey Open.

Serna, who shot an 8-under 64 for a three-day total of 12-under-par 204, is attempting to become the first Mexican to win the tournament.

Casey Martin, playing his second tournament since winning a decision against the PGA Tour allowing him to ride a cart because of a physical disability, was tied for 18th at 210 following a 70 Saturday. Martin is the leading money-winner on the Nike Tour.

Serna, 18, eagled the ninth hole and then took the lead with a three-foot putt on the 18th hole.

Elliott, who lives in Bristol, Conn., shot a 4-under 68 for a 54-hole total of 205. He credits his strong performance to a new long putter.

``I played in a tournament last week in Florida with (fellow Nike Tour pro) Carl Paulson and really had the yips,″ Elliott said. ``Carl uses a long putter and he gave me one Wednesday of this week.″

Sergio Garcia, an 18-year-old amateur from Spain, entered Saturdays third round as the leader at 11-under-par. But he shot a 3-over-par 75 Saturday to drop to a seven-way tie for sixth at 208.

Garcia is currently one of the most successful amateur golfers in world, having won 15 of the 19 events he has entered. But the teen-ager who is nicknamed ``El Nino″ has also held his own against the pros -- winning the 1997 Catalonian Open by five strokes.

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