Originally created 07/29/01

Golf roundup



HUNT VALLEY, Md. - After taking a day to get acquainted with an unfamiliar golf course, Bruce Fleisher played as if he owned it.

Fleisher made an eagle and five birdies Saturday, shooting a 7-under-par 65 to surge into a first-place tie with Jim Thorpe after two rounds of the State Farm Senior Classic.

Fleisher, the U.S. Senior Open champion and leading money-winner on the tour, shot a 71 Friday during his first competitive round on the 7,031-yard Hayfields Country Club course.

On his second crack at it, Fleisher opened with a birdie and an eagle, setting the stage for his ascension to the top of the leaderboard.

"I really got off to a great start," he said. "Yesterday I hit the ball very well, and I knew if I could make a couple of putts I could turn it around. That's what I did today."

Thorpe birdied the final three holes, overcoming two earlier bogeys to finish in a deadlock with Fleisher at 8-under 136. Although he couldn't argue with his position, Thorpe wasn't exactly pleased with his performance.

Former Augustan Allen Doyle and Mike Smith shot 65s to join first-round leader Doug Johnson (72) at 138. Tom Kite, George Burns and three others were at 139.

After sinking a short birdie putt on No. 1, Fleisher used a 5-wood on his second shot to get within 4 feet of the pin on the par-5, 526-yard second hole.

He added birdies on Nos. 7, 13, 15 and 16, leaving him in position to win his fourth tournament of the year Sunday.

"I have to go at it as I did yesterday and today," Fleisher said. "Someone could conceivably shoot a 63 or a 64. If I go out there to shoot pars, I'm not going to win this golf tournament."

If Fleisher shoots par it will be a surprise, given that he has recorded eight straight rounds under par in this tournament.

The State Farm Classic moved to Hayfields after a three-year run at Hobbit's Glen in nearby Columbia, and many of the pros are still trying to adjust to the change.

"You have to be patient on this course, especially with the wind swirling," Fleisher said.

Doyle, ranked second on the money list behind Fleisher, started the day at 1 over and tied for 30th. He closed the gap by going 6-under on the front nine, sinking four birdies and an eagle on the par-4, 437-yard sixth hole.

It was his 34th round in the 60s this year, and his best score since a 64 in the final event of the 2000 season.

"All in all, I drove it pretty good and made some good, solid birdie putts," Doyle said.

SENIOR BRITISH OPEN: Ian Stanley of Australia shot a 70 Saturday to hold the third-round lead at the Senior British Open in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, with Jack Nicklaus in contention three shots behind.

Nicklaus, seeking the title for the first time, shot a 1-under-par 70 at Royal County Down. He is tied for sixth at 1-under 212 entering the last round.

"I hit a couple loose shots but I played very well," he said.

Stanley overcame a triple-bogey 7 on the eighth hole and was at 4-under 209.

Former champion Bob Charles of New Zealand and David Oakley of the United States carded 72s to share second at 210. John Morgan of England (72) and Russell Weir of Scotland (71) were at 211.

Nicklaus is tied with 1998 champion Brian Huggett of Wales, 1991 winner Bobby Verwey of South Africa and Simon Owen of New Zealand.

Second-round leader John Bland, the runner-up three times in the last four years, faded to a 76. He is four shots behind and tied with Dave Stockton, who returned his third straight 71.

PGA TOUR: David Gossett, the 1999 U.S. Amateur champion trying to secure a spot on the PGA Tour, shot a 3-under 68 on Saturday to maintain the lead in the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.

Gossett, playing on a sponsor exemption, had a 14-under 199 total on the TPC at Deere Run. He's making his fifth PGA Tour start of the year and has played 12 events on the Buy.com Tour.

The former University of Texas star failed to qualify for the PGA Tour last winter despite shooting a 59 in the qualifying tournament.

Briny Baird, Bradley Hughes and Paul Stankowski were a stroke back after 66s, and Brian Claar (66), Matt Gogel (67) and Jerry Smith (67) followed at 201.

Augusta's Charles Howell shot a 66 Saturday and is tied for 20th place, six shots behind Gossett.

LPGA TOUR: Se Ri Pak shot her second consecutive 5-under-par 67 to separate herself from a cluster of contenders Saturday for a two-shot lead heading into the final round of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic in Vienna, Ohio.

Pak has led or shared the lead nine times heading into the final round of an LPGA event. She has won them all - except a year ago at the Giant Eagle when she wilted to a closing 75 and ended up missing a playoff by four shots.

"I still remember," Pak said. "Last year somehow it didn't work well at all and I missed short par putts..but this year is different."

Pak is at 10-under 134 and has 11 birdies and one bogey through 36 holes.

Tammie Green, followed by a large crowd of family and friends, also shot a 67 and was alone in second at 136.

Missing the cut of 147 was two-time Giant Eagle winner Michelle McGann.

DUTCH OPEN: England's Warren Bennett shot a 4-under par 67 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Bernhard Langer after three rounds of the $1.6 million Dutch Open in Noordwijk, Netherlands.

Bennett is at 11-under 202 heading into Sunday's final round on the links course. He shot his second straight 67, making five birdies between the ninth and the 15th holes.

Langer, trying to keep his Ryder Cup hopes alive, also shot a 67 and is at 203. A stroke behind the German are South Africa's Darren Fichardt (70), England's Barry Lane (66) and New Zealand's Greg Turner (71).