Originally created 08/24/02

Howell falls four shots off



RENO, Nev. - Steve Flesch had an eagle and four straight birdies in an 8-under 64 Friday and grabbed a share of the second-round lead of the Reno-Tahoe Open with Tom Pernice Jr. and rookie Ben Crane.

Flesch, who started the day with a migraine headache and a sore wrist, was 6 under on the front nine of the 7,472-yard Montreux Golf and Country Club course.

He was on pace to tie the course record of 63, but bogeyed the 429-yard, par-4 18th after he hit his approach shot in a deep bunker in front of the green and came out 25 feet past the hole.

"The course record never crossed my mind. I was more worried about my headache out there than how I was playing. But next thing I knew, I shot 30 on the front nine," said Flesch, a left-hander who wore a bandage on the left wrist he injured two months ago hacking out of the thick rough at the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.

"They always say look out for a guy who is sick or hurt. It sort of holds true today because my mind wasn't really on golf," he said.

Augusta's Charles Howell, the first-round leader after a 65, shot a 73 Friday and was four strokes off the lead at 6-under 138.

Crane, 26, capitalized on big drives - at least two were over 350 yards - for his second 67 that had him at 10-under 134. A devout Christian who carries Bible scripture in his yardage book on the course, doesn't want to look ahead as he tries for his first win on the PGA Tour.

"All I've got to rely on is a couple of wins on the Buy.com Tour and a second at the Byron Nelson Classic" in May, said Crane, who is 74th on the money list at $662,621.

"That week I did a really great job of not looking at the leaderboard and staying in the present. That's really key for me on a week like this, to try to live in the moment and not get ahead of myself."

Pernice made birdie putts of 44 and 30 feet en route to a 68, while playing partner Duffy Waldorf, his former teammate at UCLA, had a 67 and was at 135, tied with Jonathan Kaye and Steve Allan.