Defending Champs Tied for Lead

By Sports NetworkNovember 13, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Franklin Templeton ShootoutNAPLES, Fla. -- Defending champions Jeff Sluman and Hank Kuehne teamed to shoot a blistering 10-under 62 on Saturday to grab a share of the lead after the second round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout.
 
Sluman and Kuehne finished at 18-under-par 126 along with Steve Flesch and Justin Leonard, who combined to post a 63 in the better-ball format at Tiburon Golf Club.
 
Tournament host Greg Norman and Scott McCarron where joined by the duo of Mark Calcavecchia and Loren Roberts at 15-under-par 129. The father and son pairing of Jay Haas and Bill Haas followed at 14-under-par 130 after a round of 61.
 
Under the better-ball format on Saturday, each player played through on every hole and the best score on each hole was counted. Sluman took advantage and did most of the damage, but Kuehne had some contributions of his own.
 
'My strengths and Jeff's strengths match up well,' said Kuehne. 'We're able to work well together as a team.'
 
Sluman and Kuehne were one shot back to start the day and battled to keep pace with their challengers. At the par-4 11th, Kuehne dropped his second shot inside 13 feet and ran home the birdie putt to get to 12 under.
 
Sluman played his tee shot to 6 feet at the par-3 12th and converted the putt for another birdie. Sluman was just as good with the short stick at the following hole, draining a 20-footer for a birdie at the 13th to get his team to 14 under. He then continued his fine play with birdies on the next two holes.
 
Kuehne rolled in a 15-footer for a birdie at the par-5 17th to get his team within one of the lead. Moments after Sluman dropped his approach to the par-4 18th inside 9 feet, Kuehne stuck his second shot right beside Sluman's and sank the birdie try to grab a share of the lead heading into Sunday's scramble.
 
Leonard picked up a quick birdie at the second and Flesch followed with a birdie at the very next hole. Flesch then chipped in for a birdie at the par-3 fifth to move to minus-12.
 
Leonard drained a lengthy birdie putt at the 11th and ran off three consecutive birdies starting at the par-4 13th. Flesch then knocked his tee shot inside 15 feet for a birdie at the 16th and two-putted for a birdie at the par-5 17th.
 
'Justin's birdie at No. 11 got us going,' said Flesch. 'That was big.'
 
Flesch had a 10-foot putt at the last to give his team sole possession of first, but was unable to convert.
 
Scott Hoch and Kenny Perry are six shots back at 12-under-par 132. John Daly and Rory Sabbatini shared seventh place with Paul Azinger and Olin Browne at 11-under-par 133. Steve Elkington and Rocco Mediate were two shots further back at 9-under-par 135.
 
Nick Faldo and Fred Funk tied for 10th place with Charles Howell III and Lee Janzen at 8-under-par 136. Chad Campbell and Chris Riley rounded out the field at 7-under-par 137.
 
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