Originally created 02/20/00

Fleisher holds five-stroke lead in GTE Classic



LUTZ, Fla. -- Bruce Fleisher likes his score but not his form at the Senior PGA Tour GTC Classic.

Fleisher fired a seven-under 64 Saturday and holds a five-stroke lead over Dana Quigley and John Mahaffey after 36 holes. His 11-under par, 131 total is a second-day event record.

"The number is solid, but the golf swing still isn't there," Fleisher said. "I've got to tell you folks, I took advantage of my good shots and got lucky on my bad shots. I kept the ball in play, but I'm still not overly comfortable swinging yet."

Quigley shot 66 and Mahaffey recorded his second straight 68. First-round co-leader Jim Dent shot a 72 and is six back in fourth place.

"Those low rounds are a lot more fun than the bad ones," Quigley said.

Simon Hobday, the other first-round co-leader, struggled and dropped ten shots back after a 76.

Jack Nicklaus shot his first subpar round of the year, a one-under 70 and is tied for 18th place at 142.

"I just haven't played enough yet to feel comfortable," said Nicklaus, who had left hip replacement surgery last year. "I'm working at it and I'll get there.

Fleisher is seeking his ninth victory since joining the senior tour in 1999. The winner of the 2000 Royal Caribbean Classic was the circuit's leading money winner last year at $2.52 million.

"I'm mentally tougher this year," Fleisher said. "I guess I'm afraid of screwing up. To win is so hard, but it's rewarding when you do. I still think I've got something to prove."

Nicklaus played in a gallery-favorite threesome with Arnold Palmer.

"We're both tying to learn this silly game," Nicklaus said. "I think they (the gallery) enjoyed it and seemed to have a good time with it. To come and watch a couple old guys, it's all right."

Palmer is at 149 after a second-round 77.

Hale Irwin and John Bland are tied for fifth at 138. Gary Player's two-day total is 143, while Lee Trevino has a 145.

Tom Watson (141), Tom Kite (142) and Lanny Wadkins (144), who are making their first senior tour appearances together, appear out of contention entering Sunday's final round at the TPC of Tampa.