Eger, Stadler, Hatalksy share lead
SNOQUALMIE, Wash. -- Former PGA Tour and USGA administrator David Eger shot an 8-under 64 on Saturday for a share of the second-round lead with Craig Stadler and Morris Hatalsky in the Boeing Greater Seattle Classic.
The leaders were at 12 under for the tournament, two strokes ahead of Brad Bryant, James Mason and John Harris. Tom Kite, Jim Thorpe, D.A. Weibring and Don Pooley were 9 under, easily within striking distance going into the final round.
Eger, who earned a spot on the Champions Tour through qualifying school three years ago, hit an excellent approach on the 18th from 219 yards within 5 feet, setting up an eagle that got him to 12 under and briefly gave him the outright lead.
"I hit a very good 5-wood that just hit and trickled up there," he said.
Moments earlier, he had bogeyed No. 17, a par-3 that is lined by a pond and protected by a greenside boulder. Eger, who started the day at 4 under, blundered on his tee shot, sailing it left into the water.
"It was a poor tee shot," he said. "I was disappointed I'd done that, but I was more comfortable after the drop."
The seniors continued to attack the par-72 Tournament Players Course at Snoqualmie Ridge, which yielded 29 birdies and four eagles Saturday.
"I really like the course," Hatalsky said. "There are some issues you have to get past. You have to get what the golf course gives you."
Eger won only $31,014 as a player in 58 PGA Tour events, then changed jobs. As a PGA Tour and USGA official from 1982-95, he was responsible for marking tee boxes and deciding pin placements at tournaments.
"I heard a lot of blame," he said. "I had a lot of players angry about bad weather, but hopefully not too many tee markers or pin placements."
About five years ago, the 53-year-old Eger decided to try his hand as a touring pro again. Since joining the Champions Tour through qualifying school in 2002, he has taken great care not to complain about how the golf courses are set up.
"I've tried not to voice my opinion about anything," Eger said. "It's a hard job they have."
Hatalsky, who began the day in a four-way tie atop the leaderboard, missed a chance to grab the second-round lead outright when his 6-foot birdie attempt on the 18th green lipped just under the cup.
Still, it was a solid round -- his second straight 66. And for the second straight day, Hatalsky used a run of five straight birdies on the back nine.
"It's a great back nine," he said. "It's got a nice flow to it. I just happened to play well on that back nine. Now I've got to figure out the first nine, somehow hit the greens and make some putts."
Stadler, meanwhile, birdied the 18th for his eight birdie on the day and a second-day 65 after starting one stroke behind four leaders at 5 under. Pooley also shot a 64, tying Eger for the tournament's lowest round so far.
Pooley had four birdies on each side. He capped his round with a birdie on the 18th, hitting a tough flop over the corner of a bunker from the left side of the green. Then he rolled in a 23-foot putt.
"Good putting makes up for a lot of mistakes," Pooley said.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press