First-round leader Sheehan sits six back
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Kenny Perry is having vision problems that make it difficult for him to read greens or see clearly from long distances and shady spots.
Yet Perry is so comfortable playing at the Colonial that he's still in the lead by three strokes with a tournament-record score after two rounds.
"I know the greens. I don't really have to see that well," Perry said. "I know what's uphill, what's downhill. I know the breaks, I pretty much know where the pin placements are going to be. So that's very comforting."
Perry had a bogey-free 7-under 63 on Friday, his best round of the year and without a three-putt for the second straight day.
His 12-under 128 set the 36-hole scoring record at Colonial, where Perry also holds the overall scoring record of 19-under for his 2003 victory. His two-round score beat the previous mark of 11-under, shared by four players.
"Things have gone my way. I understand how to play here," said Perry, playing at Hogan's Alley for the 16th time. "I just feel very relaxed and very comfortable when I play here. I understand how to set up each hole."
Perry plans to visit an eye doctor next week and expects to be wearing glasses when he tees off for the next PGA Tour event in Memphis.
D.J. Trahan (67) and Ted Purdy (65), whose first tour victory came last week at the Byron Nelson Championship, were tied for second at 9-under. Kirk Triplett was another stroke back in fourth after his second straight 66.
"I made a quantum leap last week, no question," said Purdy, who had a six-birdie round Friday. "I have faith in what's going on right now. I just feel great."
First-round leader Patrick Sheehan was 10 strokes worse Friday, a 72 following a 62 that gave him a two-stroke lead. Sheehan, who like Trahan hasn't won on the PGA Tour, goes into the weekend six strokes back and tied for eighth.
After starting with birdies on his first two holes, Perry wrapped up a front-side 31 by hitting out of a fairway bunker to set up a 14-foot birdie putt at the 408-yard ninth.
His 21-foot putt skimmed just past the hole at No. 10, and after hitting into the trees at the 611-yard 11th, pitched back into the fairway and then hit a 9-iron by the hole for another birdie. He saved pars with short putts, blasting out of a greenside bunker at No. 12 and putting from the fringe at the 171-yard 13th.
Perry won at Bay Hill in March and then missed two cuts before finishing better than 29th just once the last three tournaments. His opening 65 at the Colonial was his best round of the year, until Friday when he bested that with consecutive birdies at Nos. 16 and 17.
His Colonial win in 2003 was overshadowed by Annika Sorenstam being the first woman to play on the PGA Tour in 58 years. Perry was second here the year before and last May finished 12th as the defending champion.
Trahan knew the smart move off the No. 9 tee was to hit a 3-wood. The aggressive play paid off, as he stuck a driver in the middle of the fairway past the bordering bunkers before a pitch shot that set up a six-foot birdie.
"I'm a feel player," he said. "The swing felt good. Had I stood on the tee and not felt it, I wouldn't have hit the driver. But I set a pretty strong and aggressive game plan and I stuck to it."
That ended a front-side showing of three birdies and three bogeys for the PGA Tour rookie, who added three more birdies.
Before missing the cut by a stroke last week at the Nelson, along with Tiger Woods, Trahan had consecutive ninth-place finishes at New Orleans and the Wachovia Championship.
Sheehan's near-record opening round included 11 birdies averaging 23 feet. Among them were two chips of more than 55 feet and only two birdie putts less than 10 feet, along with a closing bogey.
His second round started with a bogey, and he had two double bogeys. Two of his three birdie putts were less than five feet, the other being a 50-footer on the 387-yard No. 2 hole -- his 11th of the day.
"It was almost identical to yesterday, hitting the ball decent in a couple of stretches and some wayward ones that cost me some shots," Sheehan said. "I didn't make the putts like yesterday. ... But I'm still right in it."
Defending champ Steve Flesch, after an opening 79, missed the cut at 10-over. That tied for 108th out of 112 players who completed the first two rounds. Only Ben Hogan has won consecutive Colonials. ... There were 72 players who made the cut at 1-over 141. Perry and four other former champions will play this weekend. That includes Phil Mickelson (even), the highest-ranked player in the field. ... Tim Clark, who played with Sheehan, had six straight birdies en route to a 64. He missed a chance to go lower with two bogeys in a four-hole stretch.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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