Los Angeles, Sunday

TOM Kite, a veritable golfing money machine, took his career winnings

to more than $8m, far outstripping Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, and the

rest, by winning the Los Angeles Open with a late surge on the par-71,

6946-yard Riviera course here today.

Kite had five birdies in his last seven holes, finishing to the

delight of the huge crowd with a spectacular pitch to two feet at the

dangerous 447-yard eighteenth.

His 67 for a seven-under-par 206 in a tournament shortened to 54 holes

because of Friday's washout, enabled him to beat by three strokes a

group of four, namely defending champion Fred Couples, Payne Stewart,

Canada's Dave Barr, and Donnie Hammond.

Johnny Miller, the 1976 Open champion and now a television golf

analyst, recently called Kite ''the greatest short-iron player the game

has seen.'' It was accurate pitching that helped the little 43-year-old

Texan veteran to win the Bob Hope title with a record 35-under-par on

the desert courses a fortnight ago, and he was at it again today.

After nearly knocking out all the flagsticks on his back nine, Kite

repaid Miller's compliment: ''It's great to be on the sort of streak

that Johnny himself was on in the sixties.''

Kite, second at the start of today's round, one behind overnight

leaders Couples, Stewart, Hammond, and Marco Dawson, lost a shot to par

on his outward nine, but with a 12-footer for birdie at the twelfth he

was on his way.

Another 10-footer rattled into the cup at the short fourteenth, he

sank an 18-footer at the 447-yard fifteenth, and an eight-footer at the

long seventeenth.

Now it was simply a matter of ''who's gonna be second?''

Kite now leads the season's money list with $472,361, which includes

the $180,000 he collected today. He is also a big leader on the US

points list for Tom Watson's side which will defend the Ryder Cup

against Europe at The Belfry in September.

He will compete in the Doral Ryder Open next week in Miami where Nick

Faldo and Sandy Lyle will appear to start tuning up for the US Masters.

Final scores (Americans unless stated):

206 -- T Kite 73, 66, 67 ($180,000).

209 -- F Couples 71, 67, 71; P Stewart 72, 66, 71; D Barr (Canada) 71,

72, 66; D Hammond 69, 69, 71.

210 -- H Twitty 70, 72, 68; P Azinger 72, 68, 70; P Jacobsen 73, 68,

69; G Twiggs 72, 67, 71; J Maggert 71, 73, 66; J Mudd 71, 68, 71; R Fehr

72, 67, 71.

211 -- L Janzen 68, 73, 70; B Crenshaw 72, 69, 70; T Purtzer 73, 70,

68; M McCumber 71, 70, 70; E Lowery 71, 72, 68.

* MICHAEL Campbell of New Zealand yesterday returned a final round of

72 for a three-shot victory in the $175,000 Canon Challenge tournament,

his first professional win in only his fifth attempt. His even par score

gave him a 16-under-par total of 272 and earned him $31,500.

Australian Steve Conran was second, one ahead of compatriots Peter

Senior and Wayne Stewart.

* TONY Johnstone of Zimbabwe lifted the South African Masters title in

Pretoria yesterday despite shooting his worst round of the tournament.

Johnstone's two-over-par 74 was just enough to see off South African

Roger Wessels who was round in 68.

* LATEST positions in the Johnnie Walker Ryder Cup points list

(British or Irish unless stated):

1, B Lane 253,271 points; 2, N Faldo 228,527, 3, C Montgomerie

225,590; 4, M James 180,462; 5, J Spence 180,100; 6, S Lyle 172,109; 7,

B Langer (Germany) 160,131; 8, M Jiminez (Spain) 155,208; 9, S

Richardson 151,108; 10, M Roe 131,993; 11, D Gilford 112,708; 12, R

Karlsson (Sweden) 109,832; 13, A Forsbrand (Sweden) 103,846; 14, I

Woosnam 93,852; 15, D Clarke 87,335.

* LATEST positions in the Volvo Order of Merit.

1, M James #107,040; 2, W Westner (South Africa) #96,140; 3, N Faldo

#95,325; 4, D Gilford #82,835; 5, C Montgomerie #75,337; 6, S Richardson

#59,019; 7, A Oldcorn #58,330; 8, D Basson (South Africa) #57,932; 9, E

Romero (Argentina) #56,477; 10, S Ames (Trinidad) #53,572; 11, R Goosen

(South Africa) #48,847; 12, J Spence #47,430; 13, B Lane #33,812; 14, P

Broadhurst #33,122; 15, G Brand Jr #26,889.