Michelob Championship
Michelob Championship
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Duval & Mayfair tie for lead

Billy Mayfair didn't have a 5 on his scorecard in a bogey-free, 8-under 63 Friday and grabbed a share of the second-round lead in the Michelob Championship with up-and-down David Duval.

Duval shot a 69, but he started with two bogeys and added two more to get to 9-under 133. First-round co-leader Hidemichi Tanaka also struggled and was one shot back after capping his 70 with a birdie.

Loren Roberts, Corey Pavin and Charles Howell III were among a group of six at 135. Roberts shot a bogey-free 69 that ended with 11 consecutive pars, Pavin had a three-bogey 69 and Howell had seven birdies in a 65.

With a slight breeze blowing in off the James River in the afternoon, Duval's errant driving often left him in the thick, gnarly rough that several players have said compares to that found at a major championship.

Mayfair had no such trouble. He birdied all four par-3s and all three par-5s in his second trip over the 6,853-yard River Course at Kingsmill Golf Club. He hit 12 of 14 fairways, 16 of 18 greens and had 27 putts.

"Best everything period," he said of his round. "It's been a tough year. Besides finishing fifth in the U.S. Open, it's been a hard year."

Mayfair's good fortune culminated at the par-3 17th when the breeze had whitecaps forming on the river and he figured the best play was to try to just hit it on the green. He did, within 5 feet.

"Twos are good," he said, adding it was the first time in his 14-year PGA Tour career that he had four 2s on his card. "Twos are really good."

Duval was less chipper after hitting just six fairways and 12 greens and needing a good up and down from the rough to finish with a par.

"I'm just happy to be done," the two-time winner here said. "I'm just not quite as sharp as yesterday but I went off pretty good and managed to play a few shots out of the rough that kind of saved my round."

The capper came at the par-4 9th, where Duval drove into the rough, took what seemed like a pound of Bermuda from its roots on his second shot and still came up short, then chipped it close and made his par.

"I made enough bogeys. I didn't need to make another one," he said.

Tanaka made his share, too, beginning with his first hole. He got to 8 under after six holes, dropped back to 6 under and then made two late birdies, the last with the scoreboard showing a crowded lead at 7 under.

"I thought the taste of the hot dog will be different if I made it to 8 under because I am hungry," the Japanese rookie said through a translator.

After starting the day six shots behind Duval and Tanaka, Mayfair said his iron play was his best of the year, and that made his putting better.

"It doesn't matter how good or bad you're putting - if you're putting 35 or 40 feet from the hole, you're not going to make a lot," he said.

The biggest putt, a 15-footer, wasn't even for birdie, he said. It came on the par-4 6th after he hit his third shot from a bad lie.

"When that went in, it went right in the heart with some authority, and I knew then I was kind of clicking. I guess you could say I was in the zone. I think that really turned my round around," Mayfair said.

Also at 135 were Brandt Jobe, who had a 68, Jose Coceres, 69, and Peter Jacobsen, 68. Among the four at 136 was 1996 winner Scott Hoch.

Besides Duval and Hoch, two-time defending champion David Toms was the only other of 10 former Michelob champions to make the cut at 141.

Toms just did, too, ending an even-par round with a 6-foot par putt.

Curtis Strange, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain playing as a tournament host for the last time, shot a 78 and missed the cut by 11 strokes.

The tournament, in its 22nd year, will discontinue after this weekend because of costs. It will be replaced by an LPGA event next May.

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