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Kite has one-stroke lead in Austin

5/10/2003

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.''