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A Roll of the Dice

Tom Byrum's been to the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament four times, in fact; and he doesn't want to go back. A good finish this week, and Byrum can avoid trip number five.
Through two rounds of the 90-hole Invensys Classic at Las Vegas, Byrum is in good position to secure his 2001 Tour card. Byrum shot his second consecutive round of 7-under-par 65 to take the 36-hole lead.
At 14-under-par, Byrum is one shot clear of Blaine McCallister, who carded an 8-under-par 64 at the TPC at Summerlin. Lee Janzen, who played Thursday on the Desert Inn course, is in third place at 12-under. Dan Forsman and Scott McCarron are tied at 11-under-par.
The top 125 on the money list by season's end earn their 2001 PGA Tour playing privileges. Byrum currently stands in 125th place. You can see the importance of this event.
Wednesday, Byrum fired his career-best round on the PGA Tour. Thursday, he matched it. Playing on the Desert Inn course, Byrum carded eight birdies and one bogey, just as he did the day before at Summerlin. Byrum's second round included five birdies in a row beginning at the par-4 6th.
'I'm not putting any extra pressure on it,' Byrum said of trying to keep his Tour card. 'I'm not getting excited about it now. You just go play golf. Just point, click and go and hopefully it's your time.'
Byrum is seeking his first Tour win since the 1989 Kemper Open. He's among many near the top who haven't won in over two years. McCallister's last victory came at the 1993 B.C. Open. Lee Janzen hasn't won since the 1998 U.S. Open. Forsman's drought dates back to the 1992 Buick Open. And McCarron is trying to win for the first time since the 1997 BellSouth Classic.
There is a ten-way tie for 6th place at 10-under-par. Steve Elkington, Bruce Lietzke, Dennis Paulson, Billy Andrade, Skip Kendall, Phil Mickelson, Olin Browne, Jeff Sluman, Bob May and Casey Martin are all four shots back of Byrum.
Martin experienced a topsy-turvy second round at Summerlin. After bogeying the par-4 12th, his third of the day, Martin holed his approach shot for eagle at the par-5 13th. Casey birdied the 15th, and then nearly eagled the par-5 16th with a spectacular bunker shot.
A bogey at the 18th dropped Martin to 10-under, but the 28-year-old birdied the 1st, his 10th of the day, to once again get within three strokes of the lead. Martin remained there for his next six holes, before a bogey at the 8th dropped him back to 10-under, where he finished the day.
'I played solid, but not great,' said Martin, who currently stands in 177th position on the money list. 'I just didn't make as many putts as I did yesterday.'
Lietzke, who led after the first round, followed up his opening 63 with a day-two 1-under-par 71.