Originally created 05/12/02

Lietzke shots 64, takes lead in TD Waterhouse



KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Bruce Lietzke, playing a course he "feels awkward on," shot an 8-under 64 Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over Larry Nelson in the TD Waterhouse Championship.

If another round of thunderstorms rolls in overnight as forecast, the already-soaked Tiffany Greens course could be unplayable for Sunday's final round.

"I hope we have a chance to play, but I can't see this golf course taking much more rain," said Nelson, who shot a 66 on Saturday for a 9-under 135 total. "It gets to the point where two guys can hit a shot from the same place and the ball's going to slip and slide and do different things."

Lietzke, who started the day 2 under and one stroke off the lead, had eight birdies and 10 pars. His most important par was on No. 15, a treacherous 165-yard par-3 with a narrow green guarded by sand and water that Bruce Fleisher, Walter Hall and Hale Irwin all double-bogeyed.

Hall and Irwin shot 68s and were four strokes off the pace along with Tom Wargo. Fleisher and Tom Purtzer were another stroke back after their second straight 69s.

Irwin, Hall and Fleisher all hit their tee shots into the water on No. 15. Wargo birdied five of the first six holes en route to a 65 that vaulted him from 25th place, but he bogeyed the 15th and 17th.

"No. 15 was a real tough hole," said Lietzke, who two-putted from about 40 feet on No. 15.

"There was a strong left-to-right wind. With that kind of cross wind and the pin there on the right side of the green (near the water), there's almost no bailout area. I was happy to get a 3."

Lietzke, No. 11 on this year's senior tour money list, said the wet conditions were a bad fit for his game because he puts so much spin on his approach shots.

"A 64 may look real easy, and I didn't make any bogeys," he said. "But it is not a golf course I feel comfortable on under these conditions. If these greens were hard and firm, I'd feel a whole lot better about my chances. I struggled but ended up with a great score today only because I putted so well."

The only green Lietzke missed was the par-4 17th, where he sank a 10-foot par putt.

"It's a golf course I feel very awkward on, especially with those short irons," he said. "But everybody out here would probably say the same thing."

The 15th turned out to be pivotal for Nelson, who was playing with Irwin and Fleisher.

"I didn't feel like I was playing that good. I was just watching Bruce and Hale make birdies," he said. "But then they double-bogeyed on 15 and I made a par there and everything kind of flip-flopped.

"Bruce knows for me to catch him I've got to beat him by three. I'm sure if he putts as well as he did today, he'll be awful hard to catch."

Jim Dent won his first Super Seniors title of the year when he beat Dave Stockton, J.C. Snead and Larry Ziegler with a birdie on the second playoff hole. All four were tied at 3-under 141.

John Schroeder, who holed out twice from off the green on Friday, started the day with an eagle on the 510-yard par-5 10th. But he and defending champion Ed Dougherty, who each shot 68 on Friday to share the first-round lead with Bob Eastwood, both double-bogeyed the par-3 10th and finished with a 74. Eastwood had a 75.

Andy North withdrew because of a back injury, and Simon Hobday withdrew with a sore shoulder.