Two Teams Share Southern Lead

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fl. ' Defending champs Steve Johnson and Jeff Knox held onto a share of the halfway lead Wednesday in the 71st Southern International Four-Ball Championship at Emerald Dunes Golf Club. Johnson, a Chattanooga investment banker, and Knox, who runs an Augusta, Ga., charitable trust, put up their second straight 7-under-par 65 better ball for a 130 total.
 
Pennsylvania two-time Walker Cupper Buddy Marucci, second to Tiger Woods in the 95 U. S. Amateur, and partner Mike McCoy grabbed a share of the lead by posting a hot 64. They rattled off six straight birdies on the back nine to charge past former Walker Cuppers Trip Kuehne of Dallas and Danny Green of Jackson, TN.
 
Kuehne and Green flinched in the spirited battle for the lead when they both put their tee shots in a hazard and took double-bogey 5 on the 16th hole and had to settle for 67-132, two back of the co-leaders.
 
We played well, said Kuehne, a Dallas investments executive, That one hole just killed us.
 
Knox had the hot hand for the defending champs, reeling off four straight birdies to start their round and had six of the teams eight birdies. Californians Mike Karlburg and Joe Sanders had low round of the day at 62, but had ballooned to 74 in the opener.
 
In the Seniors division, Steve Earsley of Stuart and Mike Rice of Houston are four shots in front of the pack. Earsley canned birdie putts of 25 and 8 feet on their final two holes Wednesday to cap their 66-131. Defending senior champs William Boles and Marty West shot 65 to move into second place with three other teams.
 
The field will be cut after 54 holes for Fridays final round in the Southern
Golf Association event.