Originally created 10/27/01

Love fires 62 to take Buick lead



PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - Davis Love III was inspired by a star-spangled gallery.

With thousands of soldiers from nearby Fort Benning bused in to Callaway Gardens, Love shot a 10-under-par 62 Friday to seize the lead midway through the Buick Challenge.

The 10-birdie round pushed him to 14-under 130, tying the 36-hole record on the Mountain View course. He was one stroke ahead of first round co-leader Vijay Singh and Chris DiMarco.

The normally small gallery in rural west Georgia was bolstered by a heavy military presence.

Tournament officials have routinely invited soldiers to attend the second round, but the tradition took on special significance after Sept. 11.

Love dominated the 7,057-yard course on a sunny yet blustery day that had gusts to 25 mph and fans wearing everything from overcoats and gloves to T-shirts and shorts.

He drove it long and straight off the tee, setting up pinpoint irons that led to easy birdie chances. His score could have been even better: He missed from 6 feet for an eagle at the 11th and had another birdie attempt lip out on 16.

"That's the best I have hit it all year," said Love, coming off a runner-up finish at Disney World. "I made a few putts but I also missed a bunch of putts."

He was actually disappointed after shooting a 68 Thursday, which left him four shots behind Singh and Australian Geoff Ogilvy.

"This was a big day," Love said. "I got myself back in it."

This is the last chance to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship, which takes the top 30 money-winners. Kenny Perry, the golfer on the bubble, made the cut with a 141.

But No. 31 Jesper Parnevik - only $676 behind Perry - also slipped through to the weekend (142) with an eagle at 15 and a birdie on the final hole.

No. 32 Kevin Sutherland (139) and No. 33 Jose Coceres (141) also advanced.

There's also Charles Howell III, who is trying to become the first non-Tour member to qualify for the elite field. He was about $125,000 behind Perry and needing a strong finish after a 138 through two rounds.

Also missing the cut: Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, John Daly, Hal Sutton and Jim Furyk.

SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP: 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 in Oklahoma City, Okla. 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.

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.