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Fog fails to shroud Lehman's top spot



Published: Fri, January 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



He tamed the difficult South Course at Torrey Pines for a 3-shot lead.

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Soupy fog made it impossible to see the ball. And the way Tom Lehman is playing at the Buick Invitational, it might be hard for the rest of the field to find him.

Lehman made two straight birdies to regain the lead, then returned from a three-hour fog delay to close out his second round with two more birdies for a 5-under 67 on the South course at Torrey Pines, matching the 36-hole record and giving him the lead going into the weekend.

Just how big that lead is remains to be seen.

Lehman was at 15-under 129, tying the record set by Lennie Clements in 1996.

Peter Lonard of Australia was at 12 under par and playing his final hole on the par-5 ninth hole on the North course when the second round was suspended by darkness.

Tiger on the prowl

Tiger Woods also shot himself into contention, making three birdies in four holes after the fog delay. He was at 11 under on the North course, and still had the reachable par-5 18th to play.

They were among 59 players who had to return at 7:30 a.m. today to complete the second round.

Lehman is gaining confidence with every day, and every shot.

The Ryder Cup captain easily handled the difficult South course, site of the 2008 U.S. Open, by finishing his round with four straight birdies. He closed with six straight birdies on the North course Thursday.

"I felt the fog delay actually worked in my favor," Lehman said. "I was struggling a bit with my swing, and I went to the range and hit balls for an hour and a half, and felt like I got my rhythm back."

Lehman has struggled to close out tournaments. He has not won since the 2000 Phoenix Open, and ended last year by playing in the final group in three consecutive tournaments, failing to win.

"I think your good golf comes when you're not thinking about the results," Lehman said. "You're just thinking about executing. I think I made 19 birdies in 36 holes. That's without question a personal best for me."

Foggy finish

The fog came out of nowhere.

Fog quickly engulfed Torrey Pines, with the visibility down to about 150 yards. The second round was suspended more than three hours.

Mark Calcavecchia was at 6 over, with no chance to make the cut, and stuck on his final hole when he decided to withdraw. Ditto for David Duval, who was 10 over with five holes to play, stuck around for a few hours then decided to head home to Denver.

Six players withdrew, and only 91 players finished the second round.

Luke Donald, who lost in a three-way playoff last year, had a 67 and was at 9-under 135.

Ernie Els playing at Torrey Pines for the first time since he was 14, was in a large group at 8-under 136.

Phil Mickelson had a 67 on the North and was 10 shots behind in his 2005 debut.

Vijay Singh, the No. 1 player in the world, struggled with his tee shots and putting, and he hovered around the cut line most of the day until two late birdies gave him a 69. He finished at 4-under 140, 11 shots behind.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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