Kite Soars to Cup Lead


2006 Charles Schwab Cup ChampionshipSONOMA, Calif. -- Tom Kite holed out from the fairway for an eagle at the par-4 11th hole Friday, the second time he has done that at 11 and the third time he has holed out for eagle this week, but two late bogeys cost him a chance at a special round.
Nevertheless, Kite shot a 4-under 68 on Friday and is in the lead after two rounds of the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. He stands at 9-under-par 135 and is one clear at Sonoma Golf Club.
Jay Haas is embattled in a fight with Loren Roberts for the money list title and the Charles Schwab Cup race and its $1 million annuity. Haas is in the lead and is doing his best to keep ahead of Roberts.
On Friday, Haas fired a 6-under 66 and is tied for second place with overnight leader Jim Thorpe, who managed a 2-under 70 on Friday. The pair is knotted at minus-8.
Roberts also shot a 66 on Friday and is tied for fourth place with Bobby Wadkins (66), Andy Bean (68) and Craig Stadler (69). That group finished 36 holes at 7-under-par 137.
'I did see Loren was playing well,' admitted Haas. 'I'm not thinking so much about Loren. There's still a long way to go. I chuckle when I see his name pop up the leaderboard as it did today.'
On Friday, Stadler made a move early to get to the top of the leaderboard at 9 under par. Thorpe joined the mix with three birdies and a bogey through nine holes, but Kite tied the pair for first with a right-to-left, 12-foot birdie putt at the ninth.
At the 11th hole on Thursday, Kite holed out for an eagle from close to 90 yards. On Friday, Kite had 79 yards and threw his approach over the flag. The spin brought the ball all the way back to the hole and eventually fell in for his third eagle of the championship.
'That's crazy,' admitted Kite, who also holed out for eagle at the ninth in round one. 'What happened yesterday was just unbelievable, then to come back and do again today I thought, what's going on here?'
Kite drove on the fairway then reached the green in two at the par-5 13th, which was a tall order for the short-hitting Texan. His 45-foot bid for a fourth eagle came up 2 feet short and the two-time winner this season tapped in for birdie.
He stood at 11 under par and was three clear of the field. Kite did his best with a bunker save at the 14th, but missed a 10-foot birdie putt one hole later.
Kite fell apart down the stretch. He missed an 8-foot par save at the 17th to fall back to minus-10. At the par-4 closing hole, Kite drove into the left rough and was forced to lay up in the fairway. He hit a poor iron shot to 20 feet and two-putted for another bogey, bringing Haas and Thorpe within one of the lead.
'I'm playing well,' said Kite. 'I'm hitting a lot of shots right at the hole.'
Gil Morgan shot a 6-under 66 on Friday and is tied for eighth place with Bob Gilder, who carded a 2-under 70 in the second round. The pair is knotted at 6-under-par 138.
Tom Jenkins (67), Lonnie Nielsen (70) and Des Smyth (70) share 10th place at minus-5.
Defending champion Tom Watson is among a group of four at minus-4.
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