LIGONIER, Pa. – The ball sprayed wildly off Jerry Pate’s 4-iron, a fat slice as wicked and as dreadful-looking as any an amateur can hit. Skittering barely 80 yards, it was the kind of shot that can unnerve even an accomplished pro and undo an excellent round.

“That was the worst golf shot I’ve ever hit as a professional, bar none, other than whiffing the ball,” Pate said. “It was ugly.”

Rather than ruining his second round at the Senior PGA Championship on Friday, it launched Pate into probably his best competitive round since the early 1980s – a 4-under 68 that gave him a two-day total of 6-under 138 and one-shot lead.

Pate shook off his awful shot and the bogey it created on the par-5 No. 18 at Laurel Valley Golf Club to break from a crowded pack on a day when a dozen shared or owned the lead at some point.

Sorenstam ties Turner

CORNING, N.Y. – Annika Sorenstam shot a 4-under 68 on Friday to tie Sherri Turner for the second-round lead at the LPGA Corning Classic.

Sorenstam, seeking her fifth win in six starts this year, jumped to the top of the leaderboard after a four-hour delay caused by lightning and rain.

Leonard expands lead

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Justin Leonard took advantage of firm fairways at the TPC at Southwind for some extra length off the tee and shot a 5-under 65 Friday, extending his lead to five strokes after the second round of the St. Jude Classic. He had six birdies and his first bogey for a 13-under 127 total that was one stroke off the 36-hole course record held by John Cook (1996) and David Frost (1999).

Both did it when par was a stroke higher.

Leonard, who led by two strokes after one round, matched the low 36-hole total on tour this year by Joe Ogilvie at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Fredric Jacobson was the only golfer who even managed to share the lead with Leonard on Friday, and that didn’t last long.

Jacobson shot a 65 and was at 8-under 132. He had a piece of the lead until Leonard birdied his seventh hole and took it back.

Paul Goydos (66) was another stroke back in third, while Matt Gogel (68), Heath Slocum (66), Tom Pernice (68) and Roland Thatcher (67) were all at 134. Defending champion David Toms made the cut but was 12 strokes back after a 71.

Kenny Perry, who won Colonial last week, was set to miss the cut – estimated at 2-over – after a 74 left him at 147.

Only three others have held the lead alone after every round in Memphis. The last was Bob Estes in 2001. Estes said he thought he was playing well with the exception of two double-bogeys and was at 3-under.

“The golf we’re playing this week is more the way golf should be – firm fairways and firm greens – and now you’re seeing Justin in his element, which is the way it should be more often, playing great golf,” Estes said.

The last time Leonard led after the first round, he won the 2003 Honda Classic.

If he keeps playing like this, Leonard, who won the Bob Hope, is well on his way to joining Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson and Perry as multiple winners on the PGA Tour this year.

Leonard rolled five drives over 300 yards, including his longest of 333 on the par-4 9th. After working on his putting Tuesday and Wednesday, he only needed 25 putts in the second round.

He got started with a birdie on the par-3 11th, the tour’s hardest short hole with its island green, hitting a wedge to 10 feet. Leonard stumbled with his only bogey through 36 holes on the par-4 12th when he hit a 9-iron into the left bunker and failed to get out.

He refocused and parred the next four holes then hit a 4-iron into a bunker on No. 16, a par-5, and blasted out to a foot. He hit a 7-iron to 20 feet on the par-4 17th and made the putt to drop to 10-under for the first time.

Leonard made 8-foot putts on the par-5 3rd and par-4 6th, then drained a 30-footer to move to 13-under. He just missed a 10-footer for birdie after the big drive on No. 9.

AP-ES-05-27-05 1922EDT


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