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Kuchar tops PGA leaderboard as Tiger battles brisk winds

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Update: 2010-08-13 17:30:36
Kuchar tops PGA leaderboard as Tiger battles brisk winds

SHEBOYGAN: In his mind`s eye, Matt Kuchar is still the same fresh-faced kid that graduated from the US college ranks full of promise and eager to learn the ropes on the PGA Tour.

"It is going by so fast," said Kuchar, who shot a three-under 69 to seize the clubhouse lead in the second round of the 92nd PGA Championship.

"I still find myself feeling almost like a rookie. I still feel like I am the kid from 1997 winning the US Amateur and playing in the Masters in 1998.

"I feel like a very, very young 32."

And he`s playing like one too, rolling in three birdies in a row on his back nine en route to reaching eight-under 136 at the weather-hit final major championship of the season.

Fellow American Nick Watney shot a 68 Friday and is one shot back of Kuchar.

World number one Tiger Woods, who shot a 71 in his opening round, teed off in blustery conditions in the second round and did well just to stay even-par for round two through six holes, seven behind Kuchar when darkness fell.

High winds, dense fog and rain Friday made for dreadful conditions. Play was eventually called Friday because of darkness with half the field, 78 players, still on the course.

"It was tough out there. Blowing pretty good," Woods said. "You had to be very patient."

Kuchar also has a couple of young guns breathing down his neck as South Korean Noh Seung-yul (71) and Northern Ireland`s Rory McIlroy (68) are also in the clubhouse at three shots back.

Noh, who won the Malaysian Open earlier this year, is only 19 and McIlroy, who posted his first US PGA victory this year at Quail Hollow with a closing 62, is just 21.

World number two Phil Mickelson finished his round with a three-under 69 to reach two-under 142. He is six shots behind Kuchar.

Heavy fog in the morning resulted in a delay of two hours and 40 minutes for the first golfers to tee off. It is the second day in a row that fog has delayed the start of play.

In the afternoon, the rain started and the wind picked up to almost gale level, forcing the players to alter their drives and putts to compensate for the blustery conditions.

Weather forecasters are predicting more rain overnight and possibly into the morning on Saturday.

Kuchar fired a five-under par 67 in the first round of his third career PGA Championship. He has eight top-10 finishes in 2010, including a tie for second at the Bob Hope Classic.

"I have had a great season. I am looking forward to the opportunity to do something great this weekend," said Kuchar, who won the 1997 US Amateur championship.

Kucher tied for sixth at this year`s US Open, tied for 24th at The Masters and tied for 27th at the British Open. In 1998, at age 20, he competed in his first Masters and US Open.

"It feels like that is just a blink of an eye ago. It is hard to believe that I have a wife and two kids and a whole different life and perspective," Kuchar said.

Noh, who is playing in his first PGA Championship, became the second youngest winner in European Tour history earlier this year by winning the Malaysian Open.

"I hope (I can win)," the 19-year-old Noh said. "But there are two more days left."

Noh is playing in his third major of the season. He tied for 40th at the US Open but missed the cut at the British Open at St. Andrews.

Kuchar played in a threesome with European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie, who struggled all day long and will miss the cut after a second-round 83.

Montgomerie could be headed for a last place finish as he had three double bogeys, seven bogeys and just two birdies in the second round to reach 18-over 162.

"Very long day - very long week unfortunately," Montgomerie said.

BDST: 1413HRS, August 14, 2010

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