Sun, May 11, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Patient Perry seizes one-stroke lead at Players in Florida

AFP , PONTE VEDRA, FLORIDA

Kenny Perry, seeking his first PGA title in almost three years, took a one-stroke lead on Friday at the halfway stage of the US$9 million Players Championship.

Perry posted a two-under 70 at TPC Sawgrass, overcoming windy conditions to nab three birdies with just one bogey.

His six-under total of 138 put him one in front of first-round leader Sergio Garcia, Bernhard Langer and Paul Goydos.

“Very proud of the round,” Perry said. “It was the kind of day where you could shoot a big number in a hurry. I was very patient, drove the ball good again today. The secret to my round, I putted great. I made a lot of nice four- to eight-footers for par all day today.”

Perry, a 22-year PGA tour veteran, hasn’t won a tour event since May 2005, when he captured the Colonial, 68-event drought.

Perry teed off at 10 and birdied the par-five 11th and the par-five 16th.

He opened his back nine with another birdie at the par-four first hole before losing a stroke with a bogey at eight.

Perry has struggled previously at this event, failing to finish inside the top 20 in 17 of his 19 career appearances. His best finish at this tournament came in 2004, when he tied for third. He said the brutal winds were the toughest scoring conditions he could remember at the event.

Spain’s Garcia, who led by one shot after the first round, appeared poised to maintain his lead but suffered a disastrous finish.

He double-bogeyed the par-three 17th hole en route to a second-round score of one-over 73.

“Unfortunately, I shot the highest score I could today,” Garcia said. “I drove the ball unbelievable and hit a lot of good iron shots.”

Defending champion Phil Mickelson and South African Ernie Els were among four players tied for 12th on one-under.

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