Sauers and Winston Lead in Texas


MIDLAND, TX -- Gene Sauers took only 22 putts during a round of seven-under-par 65 Friday, good for a share of the lead with Brent Winston at the halfway point of the Buy.Com Permian Basin Open.
Sauers was five-under on his round before he holed an 159-yard eight-iron from the fairway for an eagle at the 432-yard, par-4 sixth, his 15th hole of the day at Midland Country Club. He immediate followed with a birdie at the 419-yard seventh, where he blasted a bunker shot out and into the cup to get to eight-under par, 13-under for the tournament.
'I've hit them close for tap-ins before (on consecutive holes), but never where I didn't have to take the putter out,' said Sauers, who dropped a shot at the ninth and posted a 36-hole total of 12-under 132.
'The bogey on the last hole sours the round a little bit, but there are still two more days left so I'm looking forward to tomorrow.'
Sauers, 40, won the 1986 Bank Of Boston Classic and 1989 Hawaiian Open on the PGA Tour, and the 1998 South Carolina Classic on the Buy.Com Tour. He tied for seventh at the LaSalle Bank Open two weeks ago for his first top-10 finish of the season.
Winston, who opened with a 65 to share the first-round lead with Mark Hensby, also began on Midland's back nine and made his way out in five-under 31. He three-putted the third green and missed a six-foot par putt at the fifth for two bogeys in the span of three holes, but recouped the shots with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 7 and 8.
The 30-year-old Buy.Com Tour rookie turned in a 67 for his first career 36-hole lead.
'I've been playing to make the cut lately so to be near the top is great,' said Winston, who tied for 138th at the 2001 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament to earn non-exempt status on the 2002 Buy.Com Tour. 'When you get it going, you just want to tee it up and keep it going.'
Hensby shot four-under 68 and was alone in third place at 11-under-par 133.
'I got off to a bad start but I thought I was swinging really well,' said Hensby, who bogeyed two of his first four holes but rebounded with five birdies the rest of the way. 'Overall, I just hung in there today. If I keep putting well I'll have a chance.'
Brad Adamonis (67) and Robert Garrigus (68) shared fourth place at nine-under. Tag Ridings (67) was next at minus-eight.
Kevin Dillen recorded the tournament's first hole-in-one when he aced the 185-yard 11th with a five-iron. He shot 68 and finished tied for 21st, seven strokes off the pace at five-under 139.
The cut fell at two-under-par 142 and included 75 players.
Full-field scores from the Permian Basin Open