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Flesch leads Nike Tour Championship

October 18, 1997

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) _ Steve Flesch shot a 4-under-par 68 on Friday to take a three-stroke lead over Brian Kamm, Ben Bates and Mark Carnevale after the second round of the Nike Tour Championship.

Flesch, a 30-year-old left-hander, had a 7-under 137 total on the Grand National Golf Club’s Lake Course. Twenty-fourth on the money list, Flesch needs a top-four finish in the $300,000 event to finish in the top 15 for an automatic berth on the 1998 PGA Tour.

``I know what I’ve got to do,″ Flesch said. ``I’m fortunate to be leading. I hit the ball in the fairway a lot, and that’s why I haven’t made any bogeys. I’ve been able to hit my irons to the right levels on the green. If I keep driving the ball well, I hope I can keep playing well.″

Kamm also shot a 68, Bates had a 70 and Carnevale a 71.

``I feel good about my position,″ said Bates, who entered the tournament 12th on the money list. ``Steve Flesch is making this course look like pitch and putt. But it’s not.

``If you had told me I’d be 4-under after two rounds, I’d be ecstatic. I can not imagine anyone shooting four rounds under par on this course. All it takes is one small breakdown and you’ll have a big number.″

Only 10 players in the field of 50 broke par Friday on the Robert Trent Jones design, and only nine players are under par overall.

``We don’t play enough golf courses like this,″ said Kamm, eighth on the money list. ``You really have to think your away around the course. My caddie had to do a whole new yardage book. He put in 10 or 12 extra hours.″

Michael Clark was four back after a 70, while Chris Smith (70), Trevor Dodds (70), J.L. Lewis (72) and Glen Hnatiuk (73) followed at 143.

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