RICHMOND, Texas – PGA Tour winner Matt Kuchar shot a 7-under 65 on Friday for a share of the second-round lead in the Nationwide Tour Championship.

Kuchar, the former Georgia Tech star who won the 2002 Honda Classic for his lone PGA Tour title, joined Cliff Kresge (69), Andrew Buckle (69), Chris Baryla (67 ) and Brandt Snedecker (68) at 8-under 136 on The Houstonian course

Craig Kanada (64), Johnson Wagner (67) and Jim O’Neal (68) were a shot back. Kanada’s 8-under round was the second-best in tournament history, behind only Jay Delsing’s in 2002.

The winner will earn $135,000, while the season money champion will be fully exempt on the 2007 PGA Tour and earn a spot in The Players Championship. Nos. 2-22 on the final money list will be conditionally exempt on the PGA Tour and Nos. 23-37 will get spots in the final stage of Q-school.

Kuchar, 12th on the money list with $234,867, had a much better start in the second round after a double bogey to start the first round. He had birdie putts of 10, 8 and 12 feet on the first three holes Friday and eagled the par-5 16th for the second day.

Kanada sat up Thursday night watching the Louisville-Rutgers football game and then had trouble going to sleep. The sleep loss didn’t keep him from making four straight birdies on the back nine.

Kanada started fast with scrambling birdies on two of the first three holes. He almost went in the water on the par-5 second but a sand wedge put him 10 feet from the hole and he made the putt for his first birdie. He hit another sand wedge to 12 feet on the third hole for another birdie.

His birdie run started on No. 14 when Kanada chipped to 3 feet. He hit 6-irons in close on the next three holes and dropped those too for birdies. He snap-hooked his tee shot on the final hole but hit a wedge to 5 feet and saved par.

Baryla and Kresge missed chances to take the lead late in the round. Baryla dropped to 8 under for the tournament with a bogey on No. 17 and Kresge made his first bogey of the day on the final hole.

Ken Duke tops the money list with $369,318, followed by Johnson Wagner ($356,319), Craig Bowden ($327,171), Kresge ($321,013) and Jeff Quinney ($311,952).

Duke (71) was 3 under, Bowden (68) 5 under, and Quinney (68) 3 under.

Buckle entered the week 18th at $211,976, followed by Doug LaBelle II ($210,174), John Merrick ($205,731), Bryce Molder ($202,957), No. 22 Jess Daley ($190,982) and current PGA Tour outsiders Brenden Pappas ($189,770), Paul Gow ($179,593).

LaBelle (70) was 4 under, Merrick (71) 1 over, Molder (74) 1 over, Daley (73) 4 over, Pappas (70) 5 under, and Gow (71) 2 over.

AP-ES-11-10-06 1738EST



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