Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stricker Builds 5-Shot Lead Fires 63 in Second Round at Kapalua

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stricker Builds 5-Shot Lead Fires 63 in Second Round at Kapalua

Article excerpt

Steve Stricker, considered the best putter on the PGA Tour, felt as though he couldn't miss Saturday at Kapalua, Hawaii. That meant big trouble for the rest of the field at the Tournament of Champions.

Stricker made even some of the longer putts look like tap-ins on his way to a 10-under 63, giving him a five-shot lead over Webb Simpson halfway through the PGA Tour's season opener.

Stricker played the final five holes in 5 under, which included a 3-wood up the hill and into a blazing sun that settled about 12 feet away for eagle. That allowed Stricker to get some separation from Simpson, and from the amazing eagle-eagle finish by Kevin Na.

Stricker was at 15-under 131, two shots off the 36-hole record that Ernie Els set in 2003.

Na, six strokes back at 9 under, wasn't even part of the picture until he holed a 5-iron from 221 yards for eagle on the 554-yard 17th hole, then hit 3-wood down the hill on the par-5 18th to about 10 feet for another eagle.

"I think it'll be the best finish of my life," Na said. …

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