Curtis takes Texas lead

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iol pic sport Ben Curtis REUTERS File photo - Ben Curtis.

Former British Open champion Ben Curtis, trying to find his way back to top form, completed a bogey-free 67 before a two-hour storm delay on Friday to take the second-round lead at the Texas Open.

Curtis posted his second-straight five-under round without a bogey for a 10-under total of 134.

He was two shots in front of David Mathis, whose 67 put him at 136.

Curtis said a change in his putting grip and some practice with the putter had boosted his performance, and his confidence, on the greens.

“When you have confidence with the putter you're not afraid to hit it to 30 feet and knowing the worst case you're going to walk off with a par,” Curtis said. “With the greens like they are here, you hit it on the right line with good speed they're going to go in because they roll so true.”

Cameron Tringale was in the clubhouse on seven-under 137 after a second-round 65, while Matt Every was seven-under through 16 holes when play was halted by darkness.

Every had a golden chance to move up the leaderboard when the round resumed Saturday morning, facing an 11-foot birdie putt at 17.

Blake Adams, Ryan Palmer and Hunter Haas were tied for fifth on 140.

“We'll see how it goes over the weekend,” said Curtis, who no longer has full playing privileges and has played a limited schedule.

“Every other year I've played - since '03, I pretty much had it laid out before the year started,” he said of his schedule. “But this year the status that I have, I went to Europe for three weeks early in the year, played over there and then just tried to get in some events over here, you know. Hopefully get in a few more after this week.”

The Texas Open is Curtis's fourth US tour stop of the season because of his conditional status, which follows a dismal 2011 when he failed to finish in the top 10 even once for the first time since he joined the tour in 2003.

That's the year Curtis shot to prominence with his victory at the British Open. He won two US PGA titles in 2006, but hasn't won since.

Tringale climbed up the leaderboard with his 65, posted in the morning before the incoming storm made conditions more difficult.

Tringale birdied five of his first six holes in his bogey-free round.

“There was no wind this morning and it was a little softer,” Tringale said. “So you could be a little more aggressive to the pins.”

Afternoon conditions were much more difficult with gusting winds and a two-hour weather delay that meant 25 players were unable to complete their rounds.

They include Frank Lickliter, who was three-under and tied for eighth with one hole remaining. - Sapa-AFP


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