Originally created 10/27/01

Lietzke moves to top of leaderboard



OKLAHOMA CITY -- Bruce Lietzke took advantage of ideal scoring conditions Friday to shoot a 9-under 63 and move into the lead after two rounds of the Senior Tour Championship.

Lietzke's 10-under 134 total left him one stroke ahead of first-day leader Bob Gilder. Tom Kite and Gil Morgan were at 136, and defending champion Tom Watson was another shot back.

The 63 was Lietzke's lowest score in his rookie year on the senior tour and was a course record on 3-year-old Gaillardia Golf & Country Club. But it wasn't a great surprise, given the windless conditions and Lietzke's game - he needed only nine events to qualify for this season-ending event open to the top 31 money winners.

"Today is the kind of day I try to take advantage of if I can," he said. "It's a golf course that keeps the driver in my hand almost all day long. That plays into my strengths."

Lietzke birdied the final four holes on the front nine to make the turn in 30, then added three birdies on the back side. He missed only two fairways and hit every green in regulation.

"I had it inside 10 feet an awful lot today and made almost all of them," he said.

Lietzke said he was easily distracted during the opening round, when he birdied the final two holes to shoot a 71. Concentration wasn't a problem Friday and neither was the wind, although he said he doesn't expect the latter to continue.

"I lived in Oklahoma 10 years, and I know God only gives us a few calm days in this state," he said.

Gilder followed his opening 67 with a 68. He eagled the par-5 third hole for the second straight day to get to 8 under, but gave those strokes back with a double bogey two holes later. He closed with birdies on Nos. 8, 11 and 17 to finish at 135.

Morgan, who lives about 15 miles away in Edmond, had a bogey-free 66 to move into contention. His round included a 25-foot eagle putt from the fringe on the par-5 sixth hole.

"The course is probably as vulnerable as it can be," Morgan said. "I think the course played as easy as it's going to."

Kite shot 68 for the second straight day in a round that included eagles on two of the par-5s. Three bogeys kept him from going even lower.

Watson is playing his first event in two months. He got off to a slow start on Thursday, making triple-bogey on the par-5 third hole, but he recovered with four birdies to finish at 1 under. He was 7 under on his round Friday before making bogey on the par-4 16th to wind up with a 66.

"A different day today, obviously," Watson said. "The game of golf is determined by wind, and today we had none or very little, and as a result the scores are very, very low."

Divots: The course record had been 66, by Phil Mickelson in a Shell's Wonderful World of Golf exhibition last year. ... Leading money winner Allen Doyle shot a 74 Friday and is 3 over. Bruce Fleisher, second on the money list, shot his second straight 70. ... Jim Ahern started the day two shots off the lead at 3 under. He eventually got to 5 under, then played the final seven holes in 5 over.