Lee Janzen, who hasn’t won on the PGA Tour in nearly three years, and Joe Ozaki, who’s never won in the United States, shared the lead at 7-under-par 137 after the second round of The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra, Fla.
Janzen, the 1995 winner, shot a 67 Friday at the Stadium Course. Playing the back nine first, he ran off three consecutive birdies beginning on No. 15 then made nine straight pars before making a birdie on the final hole to complete a bogey-free round.
Ozaki has won 28 times in Japan but his best finish during a decade of trying in America is second-place last year at the Buick Open. His 68 in the second round came on six birdies and two bogeys.
Tom Kite had the best round of the day with a 66 and was one-stroke back at 138. First-round leader Glen Day, Jerry Kelly and the amazing sometimes-player Bruce Lietzke were at 139.
A gang of impressive names were still very much in the hunt for the $720,000 first prize, the richest on the PGA Tour. Fred Couples, Justin Leonard, John Daly, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson were all within five strokes of the leaders.
“I think everybody is starting from scratch,” Els said “I think anybody who can get to double figures (under par) can win this golf tournament. And if the wind blows, I don’t think you even need to get to double figures to win.”
Tiger Woods, who sprayed his driver, was erratic with the putter and hit the water on the island-green 17th hole, shot a 73 and was at 145, eight strokes back.
In a bizarre aside, Brad Fabel hit safely onto the green at No. 17. That’s when a sea gull got a little too curious.
The bird pecked at the ball, moving it further away from the cup. Then, it tried to fly off with the ball only to drop it into the water as the gallery roared.
Nabisco Dinah Shore
Liselotte Neumann and Pat Hurst tied for the lead midway through the Nabisco Dinah Shore after stumbling over the final few holes at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Neumann and Hurst were at 7-under late in their rounds, but both lost three shots to par with shaky finishes.
Hurst, who shared the opening-day lead with Rachel Hetherington, shot a par 72, and Neumann, coming off a victory at Phoenix last weekend, had a 71 as both were at 4-under through 36 holes of the LPGA’s first major.
It was one shot back to Rosie Jones, who trimmed four shots off par on one stretch of three holes. After struggling to a 75 the first day, Jones stormed into contention with a 66.
Nancy Lopez, Muffin Spencer-Devlin, Dawn Coe-Jones, Lisa Hackney and Mayumi Hirase all were just two shots off the pace.
Southwestern Bell Dominion
Mike McCullough shot a 5-under-par 67 to take a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the $1 million Southwestern Bell Dominion PGA Senior Tour tournament in San Antonio.
McCullough, 53, had eight birdies on the par-72, 6,814-yard Dominion Country Club course as he took the lead in the first of three days of competition.
John Schroeder, Dave Eichelberger, John Paul Cain, James Barker and Frank Conner are a stroke back at 68.