Originally created 06/29/02

Hnatiuk has lead at St. Jude Classic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Glen Hnatiuk shot a second consecutive 6-under 65 Friday and held a one-stroke lead after the second round of the St. Jude Classic.

Hnatiuk shared a one-stroke lead after the suspended first round, and he went to No. 18 tied with Notah Begay, Pat Bates and Jay Haas at 11 under. He concluded his bogey-free round with his sixth birdie as he holed a 28-foot putt for the lead by himself at 12 under.

Begay turned in a 65 that was his best score in 73 rounds. That tied him with Bates (63) and Haas (64) at 11-under 131 total.

Justin Leonard and Matt Kuchar were tied a stroke back after consecutive 66s. Tim Petrovic, who had shared the first-round lead with Hnatiuk, was two strokes back with a 68.

John Riegger (68), Robert Gamez (64) and Jason Hill (66) were tied at 8 under, while Jim Carter (67), Rich Beem (68), Steve Pate (68) and Boo Weekley (68) were tied five strokes back.

Joel Edwards, in danger of missing the cut after a first-round 73, set the course record with a 28 on the front nine and finished with a 63 and 6-under 136 total. He was tied with 14 others including John Daly (70).

A total of 75 made the cut at 2 under.

Hnatiuk, whose best finish on tour was a tie for third at the 2000 B.C. Open, has never led a tournament after 36 holes. The Canadian who once played center on Western Canada's junior "B" championship hockey team knows exactly how he plans to act.

"Today it was Friday. It was the second round, and that's how I'm going to try to approach Saturday and Sunday in the same way," he said. "I've had trouble in the past where I get in my own way and get ahead of myself thinking of consequences and what might happen. That's been a little bit of a problem for me."

"Saturday's just going to be Saturday."

On a day that looked destined for a crowded leaderboard, Hnatiuk played mistake-free golf. He turned in a bogey-free round in which he hit his short irons very well, leaving himself birdie putts ranging from 4 feet to 10 feet with the exception of No. 18.

Hnatiuk said he was trying not to be greedy and hung a 9-iron out to the right. He was only trying to lag the ball near the hole and settle for par, but he had the advantage of watching Sean Murphy putt on an almost identical line first.

"The speed kept up, and it went in," said Hnatiuk, who had missed six cuts in 15 previous tournaments this year.

Hnatiuk saved the best for last. He was one of the last groups off the tee in a round that started 90 minutes late while 78 players scrambled to conclude the first round. Haas and Bates each had a couple holes to finish, and Bates responded with his best round yet on the PGA Tour.

Begay hasn't played this well since 2000, when he won this tournament and the Greater Hartford Open in consecutive weeks. A back injury limited him to 12 events in 2001, and he had missed his first 11 cuts this year before finishing tied for 33rd last week at Hartford.

He could have shared the lead with Hnatiuk except for his only bogey on the par-3 11th, where he three-putted from 30 feet. But he couldn't be happier with his sudden success.

"I never stopped treating myself like a champion. Now I'm playing like one, so I guess that's a good thing," he said.

Bates, a three-time All-American at Florida, put himself in position for his best finish yet on tour with six birdies and an eagle - where he holed out a sand wedge from 100 yards on the par-4 12th.

Haas hasn't won on tour since 1993. He bogeyed his first hole of the day but rebounded with a bogey-free seven birdies on the TPC at Southwind course where he won this tournament in 1992 with a final-round 64.

Divots: The par-3 11th, which features an island green, knocked Paul Stankowski out of the tournament. He was at 3 under when he knocked his tee shot off the back of the green into the water. Hitting from the drop zone, his shot again slipped off the back into the water, and he wound up with an 8 en route to a 76-144 that missed the cut. ... Bates' best finish on tour was a tie for 18th in Hartford in 1995.


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