Fleisher follows 8 under with 4-under day

Updated: May 1, 2004, 7:57 PM ET
Associated Press

HOOVER, Ala. -- Bruce Fleisher's 4-under 68 Saturday built a four-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Bruno's Memorial Classic.

Fleisher's tap-in birdie on No. 18 ended a string of five pars, while second-place D.A. Weibring and another contender, Jay Sigel, bogeyed the par-5 finishing hole.

Fleisher, last year's runner-up, moved to 11 under and didn't need to duplicate a first-round 64 to stay in control. He put his approach about 15 feet above the 18th hole and it spun back within a few inches.

"That's a nice way to finish," he said. "Four shots, that's a nice lead. But I don't think anybody's real confident, not with who you've got behind you. We'll see."

Weibring shot his second straight 68, while Hale Irwin, Sigel and defending champion Tom Jenkins were five strokes back. Dave Eichelberger also bogeyed the final hole to fall six shots behind Fleisher.

With heavy rains forecast overnight, Weibring decided to be more aggressive on the final hole. He wound up sending his tee shot into the rough left of the fairway in trying to avoid a creek on the opposite side and bogeyed.

"I was thinking about a rainout," he said. "I was trying to be aggressive and I was just very disappointed in myself. I was not focused in on that tee shot. I played that hole very poorly, but my caddie said it was the only one I've played poorly out of 36 so far."

Weibring's only experience at the course at Greystone Golf & Country Club came in a pro-am Thursday

Fleisher carefully nursed his lead on the back nine. He two-putted from 6 feet on the seventh hole for his only bogey of the tournament and missed a short birdie putt on the next hole. He had few other mistakes.

Jenkins shot a 66 to move back into contention, getting five birdies in holes 8-14. His worst hole apparently kicked his game into gear.

Jenkins three-putted from 5 feet on the seventh hole despite landing on the green with "one of the best 4-irons I've ever hit."

"At that point, I was a little bit discouraged," said Jenkins, bidding to become the first two-time winner in the tournament's 13-year history. "It probably got me focusing more on the round."

Graham Marsh had the low round of the day, a 65 to finish among a group of six four strokes back.

Larry Nelson has 17 Champions Tour victories and counts three majors among his 10 PGA Tour wins. He's not sure why those credentials haven't landed him in the World Golf Hall of Fame. "Everybody asks me that question, and I don't have an answer," he said. ... In the previous 12 Bruno's tournaments, players leading or tied for the lead after two rounds have won only five times.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press