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Gove Grabs Lead in Washington

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Jeff Gove carded a 6-under par 66 on Friday to take a one-shot lead over Lee Rinker at 8-under 136 after two rounds of the Buy.Com Tri-Cities Open.
 
Paul Claxton, Jason Dufner, Omar Uresti, Vic Wilk, Rob McKelvey and Jim Benepe share third at minus-6.
 
Gove opened on the back nine Friday at Meadow Springs Country Club and birdied two of his first four holes before a bogey at No. 14. He made one more birdie on his first nine for a 2-under 34.
 
He made four birdies on the back nine, including two of his last three, to take the 36-hole lead.
 
'I managed my game well,' said Gove. 'My ball striking wasn't a hundred percent, but I was able to do the things you have to do to score on this course.'
 
Gove is currently 18th on the Buy.Com money list and won this event in 1997. He has enjoyed a fine season in 2001 but has yet to break into the winner's circle.
 
'Twice this season I have taken a three-shot lead to the weekend and haven't won,' said Gove, who played on the PGA Tour in 2000. 'I think I know what this course is going to be like this weekend, so I can get a good game plan on what kind of shots I have to hit. If I can hit the ball where I am looking, I feel my chances will be pretty good.'
 
Rinker came out on fire after he roped a 2-iron out of a fairway bunker at his first, the 10th. He converted the 25-foot eagle effort and added another birdie for a front-nine 33.
 
'That's the way I have been playing lately,' said Rinker. 'The start was nice and I had some birdie chances that I wasn't able to take advantage of.'
 
First-round leader Brett Wetterich struggled to a 3-over 75 and now shares ninth with six other players at minus-5.
 
Casey Martin shot a 2-under 70 and is tied for 23rd at 3-under par.
 
The 36-hole cut fell at even-par 144, with 72 players qualifying for weekend play.