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Sugai Leads British Seniors by 5

July 26, 2002

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NEWCASTLE, Northern Ireland (AP) _ Tom Watson had the only bogey-free round of the Senior British Open, shooting a 2-under-par 69 Friday.

The five-time British Open champion trailed leader Noboru Sugai of Japan by five strokes.

Sugai offset a double bogey at No. 15 with birdies at the 17th and 18th for a second straight 4-under 67 and a two-round total of 8-under 134 at Royal County Down.

John Chillas of Scotland had his second straight 69 and was four strokes off the lead.

Watson had birdies at the first and 15th, and shared third with Canadian John Irwin.

``I didn’t have the ball very close to the hole, so I didn’t have very many birdie opportunities,″ Watson said. ``It was 20 feet, 30 feet, 40 feet away most of the day.

``But I didn’t put myself in any bad positions except at the 12th and 16th. I drove on the fairway for the most part and hit virtually every green.″

Watson’s hit a 6-iron to 15 feet and made birdie on the first, and made an 8-foot birdie putt at the 15th.

``I swung the club better than yesterday and hit a lot of quality shots,″ Watson said. ``But a five-shot deficit is not insurmountable, even with only one round to go.″

Russell Weir of Scotland and Katzunari Takahashi of Japan shared fifth place at 2 under.

Sugai joked that he wanted a bigger lead.

``I need a 20-stroke lead. I will be looking over my shoulder,″ he said.

Glenn Mitchell of Virginia Beach, Virginia, struggled in the breezy conditions, finishing at 21-over 92 for a total of 181, 39 over. He tied the record for the highest 36-hole total on the Senior European Tour, set by Stan Barrow of England in 1993 at the Senior PGA Championship at Sunningdale.

Mitchell’s round included a 9 on the 9th hole, where he six-putted from the fringe.

``It was a battle. I’m not a wind player,″ he said.

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