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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Harris English, Matt Kuchar take Shootout lead

Associated Press

NAPLES, Fla. – Harris English and Matt Kuchar shot a 6-under 66 in windy modified alternate shot play Friday to take the second-round lead in the Franklin Templeton Shootout.

English and Kuchar were at 21 under at Tiburon after opening with a 57 on Thursday in the scramble round. They won in 2013 in their first start together and finished second the last two years.

“Alternate shot’s always a tricky format. If you would have told us 6 under bogey-free in today’s conditions, we’d take that straightaway,” Kuchar said. “I’d be surprised if another group was bogey-free today. It was good golf. I don’t remember a hole being nervous that we might walk away with a bogey. Every hole we kind of had a chance and it was a good, fun round of golf.”

The event ends Sunday with a better-ball round.

“We would have the same game plan tomorrow whether we’re up four or up one,” Kuchar said. “You have to keep plodding away having two chances at birdies. You keep trying to make pars out here and these guys are going to catch you and pass you.”

Wisconsin friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly were a stroke back after a 68. The 49-year-old Stricker is teaming with the 50-year-old Kelly for the record eighth time. They won in 2009, and Kelly also won with Rod Pampling in 2006.

“It’s just a hard day, it’s hard,” Stricker said. “I’m driving it out there a little past him, so he’s hitting all the irons and it’s just difficult. It’s just a difficult position to put him in every hole and I’m just sitting back watching him hitting the irons. It’s tough. You don’t want to make a mistake, hit it in the water or plug it in a bunker, but it’s going to happen. It’s just a difficult day. It’s hard to get any momentum at all. You feel like you’re just clawing and scratching your way around.”

Charles Howell III-Rory Sabbatini (69) and Kevin Chappell-Kevin Kisner (68) were 16 under. Defending champions Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker were seventh at 14 under after a 70.

Lexi Thompson and Bryson DeChambeau were 10th at 11 under after a 71. Thompson is the second woman to compete in the event, following Annika Sorenstam with Fred Couples in 2006.