Originally created 10/24/98

Six tie for lead in Disney Classic

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If not for the occasional whistle from the Disney World railroad, Tiger Woods, Mark O'Meara and the rest of the field might have thought they were at Augusta National on Friday.

What typically is a birdie fest turned into a frustrating day of survival on slick, sun-baked greens in the National Car Rental Classic, leaving Davis Love III and five others in the lead after the second round.

Their 7-under 137 tied the record for the highest 36-hole score in the Disney Classic, set by John Mahaffey in 1973. That didn't surprise anyone.

"It was like Augusta -- spooky, scary, speedy," said Masters champion O'Meara, who shot his second straight 1-under 71 and was five off the lead.

Love did most of his damage before the wind kicked up, sneaking in with a 64. He was joined later by John Huston, Rocco Mediate, Tom Purtzer, Glen Day and Doug Martin. In the previous 19 Disney events, no more than three players have shared the 36-hole lead.

"It's hard for anyone to separate themselves from the pack," said defending champion David Duval, who had a 72 and was at 4-under 140. "I lost four shots (from Thursday) but gained ground on the lead."

Forty-nine players were at 2-under or better, setting up what could be a wild weekend with a lot on the line.

The final full-field tournament of the year will determine the top 125 players on the money list who will keep their exempt status for next year, and the top 30 for the field in next week's lucrative Tour Championship.

Ten of the 14 players from 120 to 135 on the money list made the cut; among them Mike Springer (122), Dave Stockton Jr. (125), Steve Fleischer (132) and R.W. Eaks (134).

Andrew Magee, 30th on the money list, bogeyed the last hole and missed the cut.

Skip Kendall, 32nd on the money list and needing at least a third-place finish to get into the Tour Championship, was one stroke back along with Jesper Parnevik and Mark Brooks.

Woods was tied for the lead until consecutive bogeys, including a three-putt from 60 feet in which the first putt hit the middle of the cup and still rolled 10 feet by. He finished with a 73 and was at 139.

"I thought these were the fastest bermuda greens I've ever putted on," said Woods, who won the Disney in 1996 with a 21-under 267. "It was pretty hairy out there."

Huston won the Disney in 1992 with a tournament-record 262 and was cruising along in gusts of 25 mph at 9-under until three bogeys on the front nine of the Magnolia course slowed him. He bogeyed the last hole to drop back into the logjam at 137.

"You won't see 7-under very often after the first couple of days," Huston said. "I've never seen the greens as fast here. I found myself both days putting very defensive most of the time."

Duffy Waldorf, who shot a 63 in windy conditions on Thursday, was 15 strokes higher Friday and finished three strokes back at 141.

The 25 mph gusts were only part of the problem. As the sun emerged from an otherwise cloudy day, a yellow sheen covered the greens and putts that screamed by the hole left players shaking their heads.

"Downhill, down-grain, downwind, you've got no chance," Duval said.

Love missed the cut by one stroke the last time he played Disney and, after opening with a 73, was determined not to let that happen again. He had an early tee time Friday under cloudy, soft conditions with barely a trace of wind.

That didn't last long, but Love took advantage. He was 9-under on his first 15 holes -- 8-under for the tournament -- until giving back his only stroke with a pin-high chip that rolled 15 feet by the hole.

Mediate also got to 8-under until a bogey on the last hole, and Nolan Henke was at 8-under in the afternoon until he made bogey on three of the last four holes.

DIVOTS: John Daly withdrew Friday after opening with a 4-over 76. Daly was undefeated at St. Andrews in the Dunhill Cup, but hasn't finished higher than 53rd on the PGA Tour since the Masters. ... Rocco Mediate feels like he may finally be over back surgery in 1994. He said the Sprint International was his first tournament he played pain-free. "I'm enjoying golf now more than ever before," he said. ... Phil Mickelson, playing Disney for the first time since his rookie season in 1992, had three double bogeys on the back nine of Palm and missed the cut with a round of 77. He returned from a six-week layoff a week ago at Las Vegas and also missed the cut. ... In 19 previous Disney Classics, the leader or co-leader after 36 holes has gone on to win only nine times.


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