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Tom Lehman
Despite a troublesome knee, Tom Lehman is very much in contention heading into the weekend. (Getty Images)

Notebook: Lehman's happy with play so far, not so happy about Suns game

Tom Lehman is hot over hoops. Plus, Chien Soon Lu makes a happy return to competition, Jay Don Blake is finally focused on his game, and more.

PARKER, Colo. (AP) -- In the middle of breaking down his second round for the media on Friday, Tom Lehman suddenly veered off course.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., resident wanted to talk hoops.

More specifically, the awkward layup Ron Artest made at the buzzer that allowed the Los Angeles Lakers to sneak out a 103-101 win over the Phoenix Suns and take a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference finals.

"I can't believe it," Lehman said. "I'm still angry."

His play in the first two rounds of the Senior PGA Championship didn't evoke nearly the same angst. He finished with a two-day total of 5 under to remain near the top of the leaderboard at the halfway point.

Not bad on a balky right knee.

"It's fine," Lehman said. "By the end of the day typically it's somewhat swollen and somewhat sore."

HAPPY RETURN: For nearly eight years, Chien Soon Lu went to work as a manager of a golf course in Taiwan, unable to pick up a club, give a lesson or play a round.

He was sidelined by an aching lower back that couldn't be cured. Finally, through the layoff, physical therapy and some Chinese herbal medicine, his back is feeling better.

Lu returned to competition last season and is steadily rounding into the form that helped him win 32 times on the Asian and Taiwan tours. He posted his second consecutive 2-under-par 70 Friday and is currently tied for fourth. Lu, who survived an eight-hole playoff at the 2009 Champions Tour Q-School to earn the 12th and final conditionally-exempt spot, has posted four top-10 finishes this year. Despite his conditionally-exempt status, Lu has been impressive this year and has earned $323,000 which places him 12th on the 2010 money list.

"I'm getting better and better," Lu said through a translator.

He also believes in preparation, having played five practice rounds at this course prior to arriving this week for the event. Lu contacted Head Professional Graham Cliff back in April shortly after the club opened. Shortly after, he flew in and played 18 holes one day and 36 the following two days.

DRAG RACING: To concentrate on golf, Jay Don Blake has given up his hobbies.

That means no fishing, boating or drag racing.

The devotion is paying off this week. Blake has turned in two solid rounds to sit at 4 under for the tournament. Even more, his creaky back isn't giving him fits.

"It got to the point where I couldn't function, couldn't play and my game really slowly went downhill," Blake said.

And now?

"It hasn't really bothered me," he said. "I keep from getting it to where it locks up and where I can't play at all."

CHIP SHOTS: Fuzzy Zoeller withdrew from the tournament Friday after nine holes with a swollen finger. ... Rod Spittle of Columbus, Ohio, withdrew Thursday night because his father died. ... Tom Watson is 5 over after two rounds. "Course got me today," Watson said after shooting 4-over on Friday. "I didn't hit my irons very well today and didn't putt worth a darn." ... Defending champ Michael Allen sits at 1 under heading into the weekend. "I'm in position, I'm playing well, so hopefully I can shoot a good score," Allen said.

Halfway leader Fred Couples is 7 under par on the front nine and even-par on the back nine. … Couples and Tom Kite are the only two players in the field with a pair of sub-70 rounds. Six other players have posted two sub-par rounds. … Once again, there was a dearth of scores below 70 on Friday. Only Blake, Couples and Kite broke the 70 mark with each firing 3-under-par 69s.  

A total of 81 players made the cut at 7-over-par 151 from a starting field of 155. Last year’s cut was also 7 over par. … Among those players missing the cut were former Senior PGA Championship winners Denis Watson and John Jacobs along with Tom Jenkins, Sandy Lyle, Andy North, Joey Sindelar, Andy Bean, Tom Purtzer, R.W. Eaks, Mark Wiebe and Dale Douglass. Former champion Fuzzy Zoeller was forced to withdraw after nine holes in Friday’s round due to a finger injury. Ross Drummond, the 36-hole leader in this event a year ago, also missed the cut.

Several players made big moves on Friday to avoid the cut. Among those making huge moves were David Eger (tied for 125th to tied for 53rd), Mike Reid (tied for 125th to tied for 69th), Mark James (tied for 111th to tied for 45th), Loren Roberts (tied for 92nd to tied for 32nd), John Cook (tied for 111th to tied for 53rd), Morris Hatalsky (tied for 111th to tied for 69th), Jim Woodward (tied for 132nd to tied for 69th) and Tommy Armour III (tied for 111th to tied for 69th). … The most difficult hole has been No. 5 at 4.519 (+.519), while the easiest has been No. 7 at 4.831 (-.169).  The field averaged 75.987 on Friday compared to 75.716 on Thursday.

Dave Senko of the PGA Tour staff contributed to this report.


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