Second-round lead is medicine to Perez

Saturday, February 2, 2002

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Pat Perez, so sick that he thought about pulling out of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, is starting to feel good about sticking around.

With birdies on four his last five holes Friday at Pebble Beach, Perez polished off a 7-under-par 65 and quickly built a four-stroke lead over Lee Janzen heading into the weekend.

It was the largest 36-hole lead at Pebble since 1973, and it could prove to be a valuable cushion for Perez when he plays difficult Spyglass Hill on Saturday.

Perez was at 13-under 131. Janzen had a 67 at Spyglass. Jerry Smith was another stroke back after a 69 on Poppy Hills.

Tiger Woods, thankful to be done with his round at Poppy Hills, found the reception even worse at Spyglass. He bogeyed three out of four holes at one point and finished with a 1-over 73, 12 strokes out of the lead. Woods will play his final two rounds at Pebble Beach, but needs a good score Saturday to get back in the hunt.

Heineken Classic

MELBOURNE, Australia -- South Africa's Ernie Els shot a 3-under 69 at historic Royal Melbourne take a three-stroke lead after the second round.

Els, the two-time U.S. Open champion who opened with a 64, had an 11-under 133 total.

Greg Norman, winless in Australia in nearly four years, shot a 67 to join countrymen Peter O'Malley (68) and Stephen Leaney (66) and Wales' Mark Pilkington (70) at 8 under.

New Zealand's Richard Lee shot a 62 -- the best under the "Presidents Cup" composite configuration of the East and West layouts -- to reach 7 under. Australia's Ian Baker-Finch shot a 63 in 1990 under a different setup.

John Daly made the cut by a stroke, eagling the final hole for a 73 and even-par 144 total.

Royal Caribbean Classic

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla.-- Heavy rain forced the postponement of the first round of the Senior PGA Tour event.

The tournament was reduced to 36 holes, with all players starting over Saturday because the entire field did not complete the nine holes required to make it an official round.

Tom Purtzer, in his first senior tournament, was leading the field at 4 under through 13 holes when play was stopped.

Dimension Data Pro-Am

SUN CITY, South Africa -- Scotland's Scott Drummond shot a 5-under 67 to match South Africa's Retief Goosen at 11-under 133 after the second round.

Drummond played the Lost City Country Club, while Goosen shot a 70 on the Gary Player Country Club course. Goosen, the U.S. Open champion, won the Johnnie Walker Classic last week in Perth.

Irwin exemption

FAR HILLS, N.J. (AP) -- Hale Irwin, the oldest player to win the U.S. Open, received a special exemption to play in his 32nd U.S. Open this year.

The three-time Open champion was given the exemption by the U.S. Golf Association during its annual meeting. The U.S. Open will be played June 13-16 on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Irwin was 45 when he won the 1990 U.S. Open at Medinah. He tied for 52nd last year at Southern Hills, opening with a 3-under 67 that left him only one stroke behind eventual champion Retief Goosen.

-- From wire reports

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