AUSTIN, Texas -- Tom Kite moved into position for his first professional victory in his home state, shooting a 7-under 65 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead in the Kinko's Classic.
Kite, a longtime Austin resident and former University of Texas star, had a 10-under 134 total at The Hills, a course he said he hasn't played much in the past 10 years.
"Any place would be the perfect place to get a win,'' Kite said. "There are a lot of guys who'd like to win this tournament. It's going to be a real shootout.''
Hale Irwin (66) and Tom Watson (69) were a stroke back, and Bruce Lietzke was 8 under after a 67. Jack Nicklaus, the course designer, was six strokes back in a 12th-place tie after a 69.
Kite, the honorary host of the event, birdied six of seven holes from the eighth to the 14th, but dropped a stroke with a bogey on the 15th.
"Today was a lot of fun, and I was pleased with it,'' Kite said. I feel like I'm playing really well right now.''
Irwin, the career leader with 36 Champions Tour victories, hit his tee shot to 1 1/2 feet to set up a birdie on the par-3 16th, and closed with another birdie on the 18th.
Watson started out slow with three bogeys and one birdie on the front nine, but rallied with five birdies on the back nine.
"It was like two rounds of golf today,'' Watson said. "The engine was missing on the front nine, but I changed the spark plug on the back nine.''
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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