Lehman's course-record 64 gives him one-shot edge in Mississippi Classic

tom lehman
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Tom Lehman birdied five straight holes on the back nine to charge up the leaderboard after a slow start.
David Brandt
Associated Press


Published: Saturday, April 02, 2011 | 8:22 p.m.

Tom Lehman broke a course record with a 8-under 64 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Jeff Sluman after the second round of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak.

Lehman birdied five straight holes on the back nine, starting with a 35-foot putt on No. 12, to charge up the leaderboard after a slow start. Then on No. 18, he chipped in from the bunker for his sixth birdie in seven holes. He's 13 under for the tournament.


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The final three holes at Fallen Oak, host venue for the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, are among the most difficult on the Champions Tour.

"I had a perfect lie in the bunker and all kinds of green to work with -- kind of down the hill to the hole," Lehman said. "It was one of the easier bunker shots you're ever going to get, and it went in."

Sluman shot a bogey-free 66 for the second straight day, getting off to a good start with an eagle on the first hole. After a good drive, he drilled a nearly perfect approach with his 3-iron to within an inch, almost making the first double eagle of his career.David Frost is in third after shooting 67, and is four shots behind Lehman for the tournament. Six other players are tied for fourth at 7 under.

"Good scores always sneak up on you," Lehman said. "You just get in that groove where you're playing good golf and just trying to make birdies."

Sluman, who started Saturday's round with a one-stroke lead, has just one bogey over his last 84 holes, and has shot par or better in 23 straight rounds dating back to last season.

"I'm hitting the ball extremely well," Sluman said. "I don't really judge it or measure it by anything. I just know I feel pretty comfortable over the ball."

But it wasn't enough to keep pace with Lehman, who leads the Charles Schwab Cup standings and won the Allianz Championship in February. The final threesome of Lehman, Sluman and David Frost shot a combined 19 under for the day.

Lehman said the early pressure from Sluman and Frost helped spur his good play. The three will be together again for Sunday's final round.

Tom Kite needed a par on the final hole to shoot 7 under for the day, but instead made double bogey after driving into a sand trap and hitting the next shot into the spectator area lining the right side of the fairway.

Kite finished with a 67, but is still well behind the leaders at 3 under for the tournament. He also missed short birdie putts on the 16th and 17th holes, adding to the frustration.