Semi-retired Bruce Fleisher tops Champions Tour event

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LUTZ, Fla. — Bruce Fleisher was as surprised as anyone to find himself atop the leaderboard.

The 63-year-old Fleisher shot 6-under-par 65 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Michael Allen and Chien Soon Lu after the first round of the Champions’ Tour Encompass Insurance Pro-Am.

“My expectations were really not very high whatsoever,” Fleisher said. “It is a bonus. It was wonderful day. Maybe it will continue. I’m not quite sure.”

Fleisher, making his third start of the year, had seven birdies and a bogey at TPC Tampa Bay. He won the event in 2000 and 2003.

He is playing a limited retirement schedule of 10 or 11 events.

“I keep telling friends and family that this is not for 63-year olds,” Fleisher said. “You have to move on, maybe write another chapter in your life. I had a wonderful run. I don’t need to prove anything anymore to anybody, especially to myself.”

EUROPEAN/ASIA TOURS: In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Hennie Otto and Jbe Kruger reached 9-under to share the clubhouse lead at the Malaysian Open before the second round was suspended two hours early because of a threat of thunderstorms.

The pair continued the strong play of South Africans established by Charl Schwartzel with 64 and Louis Oosthuizen 66 in the first round.

Former Masters Tourna­ment champion Schwartzel had five bogeys and one birdie on Friday to drop to 5-under through 12 holes before the players were taken off the West Course at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

Two birdies from Oosthuizen in the same 12 holes allowed him to reach 8-under and he was one shot off the lead.

Otto shot a second-round 64 to move to the top of the clubhouse leaderboard with eight birdies despite arriving in Malaysia too late to play a practice round.

“I played the course blind on Thursday,” he said. “But today I hit it close for most of my birdies and got on in two at all the par 5s except the 18th to lay the foundations of my score.

“On this course if you can get under par on all of the par 5s and build from there, you can make a score and I managed to do that.”

After he shot 65, Kruger said there was a friendly rivalry between all the South Africans in the event.

“I think we have all of us South Africans have some into this tournament with a bit of form,” he said. “It is not a case of giving Charl or Louis a run for their money it is just fun to be in contention.”

Germany’s Martin Kaymer moved within two shots of the lead with a second-round 67.

“I played really well today and gave myself a lot of birdie chances,” Kaymer said. “If I can make a few more putts, I feel I can really get into the tournament. I will be a few shots behind after today so I will approach tomorrow a bit more aggressively.”

NATIONWIDE TOUR: In Hayward, Calif., Steve Friesen shot 2-under-par 70 and is the clubhouse leader in the weather-delayed TPC Stonebrae Championship.

Friesen is at 3-under 137 for 36 holes. First-round leader Ben Martin (65) didn’t get on the course.


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