Sun, Jul 18, 2004 - Page 24 News List

Kendal hits 5-under-66


Skip Kendall of the US on the second day of the British Open golf championship at Royal Troon golf course in Troon, Scotland, Friday. Kendall has never won on the tour.


The ultimate grinder is halfway to one of golf's ultimate prizes.

Skip Kendall, who has not won in 310 PGA Tour events, eagled the 16th hole from off the green Friday on his way to a 5-under-66 and the second round lead in the British Open.

The improbable leader, who had to qualify to get in his third Open, stole the spotlight on a day when Masters champion Phil Mickelson recovered with a 66 to get back in contention and Colin Montgomerie thrilled the hometown fans with a move of his own.

"It was a glorious day," Kendall said.

Indeed it was, with spectators enjoying light winds and warm temperatures off the Scottish Coast and players enjoying even more the scores Royal Troon was giving up.

Kendall holed a bunker shot on the third hole for a birdie to spark his round, and rolled a putt from off the front of the green on the par-5 16th to grab the lead from Thomas Levet of France.

"I was not paying attention to a lot of things you could get caught up in out there," Kendall said.

Kendall, who came agonizingly close to winning earlier this year when he lost a playoff to Mickelson at the Bob Hope Classic, has won more than US$6.5 million on the tour but has never fulfilled his expectations by winning.

He finished two rounds at 7-under 135, a shot ahead of first round leader Levet and two shots ahead of England's Barry Lane and K. J. Choi of South Korea.

"I really feel like I can win on the PGA Tour, it's just a matter of time," Kendall said.

The unassuming 39-year-old American topped a leaderboard full of international players that included proven major championship winners like Vijay Singh and Ernie Els. Tiger Woods was six shots back after shooting an even par 71.

Els and Vijay led a group of four players at 4-under-par, three shots back, while Mickelson made a move with a bogey-free 66 that put him at 3 under, tied with US Open champion Retief Goosen.

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