Delsing Leads One Week After Fathers Death

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2006 Rheem ClassicFORT SMITH, Ark. -- Just eight days after the death of his father, Jay Delsing fired a 6-under 64 on Friday to move into a share of the lead midway through the Rheem Classic.
 
Delsing stands at 8-under-par 132 with Darron Stiles, who shot a second straight 66 on Friday.
 
Diagnosed with cancer four years ago, Jim Delsing passed away last Thursday. His son didn't arrive at Hardscrabble Country Club until Thursday morning of this week -- a last-minute decision that has Jay Delsing challenging for his first Nationwide Tour win in four years.
 
'I know my dad would have liked me to come down here and that's why I did,' said Delsing.
 
His father would have enjoyed watching Delsing carve up the course for seven birdies and just one dropped shot Thursday, putting the 45-year-old in position for his first victory since the 2002 Omaha Classic.
 
'I don't know what I'm feeling. It's been an interesting week,' Delsing admitted. 'I've never experienced anything like this before -- it's obviously life-changing.'
 
Delsing played a flawless front nine on Friday, posting birdies at the fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth holes to make the turn at 6 under. He stumbled to his only bogey at the par-4 10th, but got that shot back with another birdie at the 11th.
 
Back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th then had Delsing in the lead.
 
'I felt like my dad was out there bouncing the ball around for me,' Delsing claimed. 'I hit a lot of good shots today, but not as good as yesterday. He was probably looking after me, so it was kind of neat.'
 
Five players trail Delsing and Stiles by two shots at 6-under-par 134, including brothers Deane and Brenden Pappas, whose father passed away in their native South Africa last month.
 
'It seems like [just] this week that I haven't slipped into thinking about him while I'm on the golf course,' said Brenden Pappas, whose 65 on Friday was one shot better than brother Deane's second-round score.
 
'He was out mentor, he taught us the game and specifically the mental side of the game,' Brendan Pappas added.
 
The Pappases would have shared a threesome with Delsing on Saturday had it not been for Stiles and his nearly flawless 66. The only blemish on Stiles' scorecard Friday was a double-bogey at the par-three fourth.
 
'I just had one really bad swing and that was about it,' said Stiles. 'Even if you have a bad start you can come back as long as you keep the ball in play and that's what I tend to do, so that helps.'
 
Joining the Pappases in third place were Ricky Barnes (66), David Hearn (68) and Joel Edwards (64). Scott Gutschewski (68), Glen Hnatiuk (67) and Michael Putnam (67) were one shot further back in eighth place at minus-5.
 
The cut line fell at even-par, with 66 players moving on to the weekend.
 
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