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Trio Tied in Texas

HUMBLE, Texas -- Steve Stricker, Steve Lowery and BellSouth Classic winner Zach Johnson are tied atop the leaderboard during the second round of the Shell Houston Open.
Friday's second round was suspended for darkness with 36 players still on the course. There was a nearly two-hour weather delay on Friday and the players will return to Redstone Golf Club at 8:30 a.m. (et) Saturday morning to complete the second round.
The third round will begin immediately after the completion of the second round. The golfers will be in threesomes and go off both the first and 10th tees because there is more severe weather in the forecast for Saturday.
Stricker posted a 2-under 70 on Friday, while Lowery carded a 3-under 69. Johnson bogeyed his 17th hole en route to a 4-under 68. The trio is knotted at 5-under-par 139.
Vijay Singh fired a 6-under 66 on Friday and is part of a group tied for fourth at 4-under-par 140. Paul Azinger (67) and Patrick Sheehan (71) joined Singh in the clubhouse while John Riegger and Neal Lancaster are at 4-under on the course.
For the second consecutive day, heavy wind swirled around Redstone and the scores reflected it.
Stricker, who played in the morning, opened well with back-to-back birdies at the first and second holes. He started missing greens on the front nine but his scrambling kept him near the leaderboard as the 37-year-old parred out until a bogey at No. 14.
Stricker reclaimed the lost stroke at No. 15 and parred his final three holes to get into the clubhouse with the lead.
'I'm just managing my game well, I think,' said Stricker, who won the 2001 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. 'When I was in trouble, I would try to get it up around the green or shoot away from the pin and just try to get it on the green and two-putt. I just managed my whole two days very well, and I've been putting well.'
Stricker's co-leaders were in the afternoon session.
Lowery started on the back nine and vaulted up the leaderboard with an eagle at 15, then a birdie at the next hole. The momentum was short-lived as Lowery double-bogeyed the 17th and bogeyed the second hole to fall back into the pack.
Then came the delay.
When Lowery returned to the course, he birdied his final three holes, including a 30-footer at the eighth and a 5-footer at the ninth, to join Stricker in a tie for first.
'It worked to my advantage,' said Lowery, referring to the delay. 'I kind of needed a break, so it worked out for me today.'
Johnson's take on the suspension was different as last year's Nationwide Tour Player of the Year was 4 under and headed for the back nine. When he came back, Johnson drained a 57-foot birdie at the 11th to take sole possession of the lead.
He fell back into a tie with a bogey at 13. Johnson moved back into first with a tap-in birdie at 15 but fell into a share of the lead when he bogeyed No. 17.
Johnson won his first PGA Tour event three weeks ago at the BellSouth Classic and with a good weekend, he could join Masters champion Phil Mickelson as the only multiple winners on tour this season.
'I'm starting to see the results of work and it's been great,' said Johnson. 'I've definitely got higher priorities than what I'm doing, but I give 110 percent and I love to do it.'
Justin Leonard (70), Dudley Hart (72), Mark Calcavecchia (69), Chris Riley (74), Scott Hoch (68) and David Peoples (71) are tied for ninth at 3-under-par 141. Joe Ogilvie is 3 under par and will return on the 15th hole.
First-round leader Rod Pampling struggled badly on Friday. He tallied one birdie, a double-bogey and six bogeys for a round of 7-over 79. Pampling is currently tied for 48th at 1-over-par 145.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Shell Houston Open
  • Full Coverage - Shell Houston Open