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An Old Mans Game

At a venue revamped to combat golfs growing legion of young, technologically advanced players, its a group of 40-somethings out front midway through the 50th Buick Invitational in San Diego, Calif.
Forty-one-year-old J.L. Lewis shot 5-under-par 67 on the 7,568-yard South Course at Torrey Pines to tie Kent Jones for the 36-hole lead at 9-under-par 135.
Jones, 35, is a relative youngster compared to those near him on the leaderboard. Jay Haas, 48, and Mark OMeara, 45, are one shot off the lead. Haas shot 68 on the North Course, while OMeara shot 69.
In this game, experience always helps, said Jones.
Especially at this event. Haas won here 24 years ago, in 1978; O'Meara won in 1997.
Also in the mix is 25-year-old Rory Sabbatini, who shot 6-under 66 on the North Course to finish two rounds at 8-under.
Meanwhile, 1999 champion Tiger Woods, the man for whom many a course has been altered, had to birdie the final hole in order to make the cut at 1-under 143.
Woods started the day at 6-under, but shot 5-over 77 on the South Course ' his worst score since a 78 in the third round of the 1999 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Woods kept alive his consecutive cuts streak ' which now stands at 81 ' but barely. The top 70 players and ties made the cut. Tiger finished tied for 69th.
Tiger played his first five holes in 4-over. He stood at 2-under for the tournament entering the par-4 17th, only to card a double-bogey 6.
Woods pushed his approach shot right of the green, then chunked his chip shot. He ran his next chip five feet past the hole and pulled the bogey putt.
Needing a birdie in order to play the weekend, Woods laid up with his second shot on the par-5 18th and spun his approach six feet past the hole. He made the putt, and then blew past the media without comment.
Woods has never finished worse than tied for fourth in four prior starts at this event. When he won in 1999, Woods made the cut by two strokes and shot 62-65 on the weekend to win by two shots.
Such scores are highly unlikely this week.
Overnight leader Mathew Goggin fared only slightly better than Woods on Friday. The Australian was 12 shots higher in Round 2 than in his opening 64. He was 7-over through his first seven holes on the South Course in the second round, only to fight his way back for a 4-over 76. He stands at 4-under for the event.
Lewis problems werent as major; he struggled a bit off the tee, but still recorded six birdies to a lone bogey.
I scored well, said Lewis. I didnt strike the ball as well as I would have liked. I managed to make a few putts, but overall I wasnt that pleased with my driving, so Im going to have to get that going if Im going to continue doing well.
While Lewis is coming off back-to-back missed cuts, Jones is fresh off his career best finish on tour ' a tie for eighth at Pebble Beach.
Friday, he shot a bogey-free 67 on the South Course.
Theres two long, hard days ahead, Jones said.
OMeara seconded that motion.
I've done this for too long, you can't, after two rounds, think that, oh, its' going to be a piece of cake,' he said.
News and Notes from Round 2
Full-field scores from the Buick Invitational