Originally created 02/28/04

Heath Slocum leads Tucson second round



TUCSON, Ariz. -- Heath Slocum's diligence in practice paid off.

Slocum shot an 8-under 64 Friday - his second consecutive bogey-free round - to take a two-shot lead in the rain-curtailed second round of the Chrysler Classic of Tucson.

"It's definitely a goal of mine, and more than once," he said about the chance of winning in his third full PGA season. "That's why I hit all the balls; that's why I do all the work."

Michael Clark carded a second-round 65 and Geoff Ogilvy shot 66, leaving them two shots behind of Slocum's 13-under 131 among players who completed 36 holes. Seventy-two late starters failed to complete the round when play was suspended in late afternoon.

The only one within two strokes of Slocum was Carlos Franco, one of a quartet who began the day two shots behind first-round leader Frank Lickliter. Franco was at 11 under with five holes to finish Saturday morning.

Per-Ulrik Johansson, who missed sharing the first-round lead when he double-bogeyed the final hole, was three shots behind Slocum after a 69. Tim Clark (68) and Vaughn Taylor (68) joined him at 134.

Steve Elkington and Ted Purdy shot 66s to remain four shots off the pace, with Lickliter and Todd Fischer at 136.

Lickliter, the defending champion, shot 63 on Thursday, a brilliant, calm day, but lost his touch in overcast, drizzly weather Friday.

He picked up his first bogey of the event on the sixth hole, where he three-putted from 18 feet. Lickliter also three-putted the next hole for a double-bogey 6 and made two more bogeys after the turn.

Slocum became the second player since Chris Smith in 1997 to earn his Tour card by winning three Nationwide Tour events in one season (2001).

Since then, he has finished second three times, including a disappointment at Hilton Head in 2002 when he wasn't able to hang onto a one-shot lead with three holes to go.

He worked his way back atop the leaderboard for the first time since then with four birdies on each side of the Tucson National course.

Slocum two-putted twice for birdies, had four birdie putts from distances of 8 to 12 feet and sank a 25-footer on the 10th hole.

"That felt good just to keep the momentum," said Slocum, who had an easier putt of 4 feet for his last birdie on the 17th hole.

"Two days in a row I hit a lot of greens," he said. "I had a couple maybe 4- or 5-footers for par. But, other than that, everything else was pretty solid."

Clark, who began the round five shots out of the lead, got going early with an eagle on the friendly second hole, a 495-yard par-5 where Clark dropped a 6-iron within 5 feet.

Clark birdied holes before and after the turn and went to 9 under with a birdie on the 13th hole, but gave back the stroke on No. 14, where he had an unplayable lie, took a drop after failing to get a favorable ruling from two officials and wound up hitting a left-handed shot.

"They made me play out of a footprint," he said. "And I had to play it left-handed to avoid hitting myself with the ball. I knocked it out, got it on top and then chipped up to 3 feet and made bogey."

Clark, who won the 2000 John Deere Classic but has had only two top 10s since then, improved his outlook by birdieing three of the last four holes.

Divots: Monday qualifier John Douma made a rare double eagle on the par-5 eighth hole when he holed out from the fairway with a 4-iron. The 219-yard shot helped the Scottsdale, Ariz., resident finish 3 under, possibly in position to make his first cut in three tournaments. "I hope that made a big difference," said Douma, who played in Hawaii in 2000 and the 2001 U.S. Open. ... Lickliter has led after one round five times, and never finished higher than 20th.