Originally created 04/17/99

Fernandez charges into lead at Seniors



PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Vicente Fernandez of Argentina, third in his debut here in 1996, shot a 65 Friday for a one-stroke lead over Bruce Summerhays midway through the 60th PGA Seniors' Championship.

Fernandez, posting the low score of the second round on the par-72 Champion course at the PGA National Golf Club, completed two rounds at 9-under 135.

Summerhays, the first-round leader, remained in front for most of the day before making his first bogey of the tournament when his tee shot on the par-3 15th went into the water. Fernandez, his playing partner, put his tee shot a foot from the pin and tapped in for a birdie.

Summerhays finished with a 70 and was at 136, three better than Dana Quigley, John Jacobs and Jose Maria Canizares. Quigley shot 68, Jacobs a 70 and Canizares a 71.

"I hit a lot of good shots," Fernandez said. "I just hit the ball better and closer than I did (Thursday)."

He made four birdies on each nine, bogeying the par-3 seventh hole when he three-putted from about 24 feet.

"Other than that one hole, my short game, my putting was very good."

Summerhays said he has made but one bad shot in two days, a fat 7-iron into the water at No. 15. He took a drop from a forward tee box, hit 8-iron onto the green some 40 feet short of the hole, then made the putt for what he called "a good bogey."

"I just teed off without proper preparation, without thinking about what I wanted to do," he said. "You just can't do that on this course, that hole."

Summerhays only made three birdies, "but I played a good, consistent round of golf. I just kept thinking pace and finish" on shots. "Though I didn't make a lot of birdies, I felt I putted well because I burned the edges on a lot of holes. I feel that's still good putting even though I don't make them."

Fernandez and Summerhays are close friends and frequent practice partners. Neither played on the PGA Tour but each has won twice on the Senior PGA Tour. They will be in the final threesome for Saturday's third round, the fourth consecutive day they have played together, including a practice round Wednesday. Quigley will complete the threesome.

"It will be great fun," Summerhays said. "Dana was a club professional, just like I was." Summerhays was also the Stanford golf coach before qualifying for the senior tour in 1994.

Quigley had six birdies and two bogeys, Jacobs six birdies and four bogeys and Canizares four birdies and three bogeys. Canizares, a former European Ryder Cup player from Spain, trailed Summerhays by two shots after the first round.

Hale Irwin, the three-time defending champion, fought his way back to within sight of the leaders with 69 for 144.

"I have no complaints tee to green," Irwin said, "but I'm still putting poorly."

He made four birdies in a seven-hole stretch midway through the day, then parred the last four holes.

"Yes, I think I still have a chance, but this is a tough course to shoot really low on. If I was putting well, I would be 5- or 6-under par."

Irwin's lowest score in 14 trips around The Champion is a 66 the first round in 1996, when he won the first time.