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Ted Purdy in Contention Again at Colonial

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Ted Purdy is in contention again, just a week after finally winning on the PGA Tour. His first victory came in a rare tournament featuring the world's top-five players. To get the second this weekend, Purdy might have to do something even more difficult: beat Kenny Perry in the Colonial.

``I'm playing great, and he's beating me by three,'' said Purdy, who won the Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday in Irving. ``He's definitely going to be the one to beat.''

Perry shot a bogey-free 7-under 63 on Friday, his best round of the year. He had a 12-under 128 total to break the 36-hole scoring record at Colonial.

Purdy (65) was tied for second with D.J. Trahan (67) at 9 under. Trahan will play in the final group Saturday with Perry, while Purdy will be paired with floppy hat-wearing Kirk Triplett, fourth after his second straight 66.

The 44-year-old Perry, who won the Bay Hill Invitational in March for his eighth tour title, is so comfortable at Colonial that he leads despite vision problems that make it difficult for him to read greens or see clearly form long distances and shady spots. He plans to visit an eye doctor next week, and expects to start wearing glasses.

He doesn't need any help at Hogan's Alley.

``I know the greens. I don't really have to see that well,'' Perry said. ``I know what's uphill, what's downhill. I know the breaks, I pretty much know where the pin placements are going to be. So that's very comforting.''

During his 2003 Colonial win, overshadowed by Annika Sorenstam being the first woman to play on the PGA Tour in 58 years, Perry set the overall scoring record of 19 under. He finished second the year before that, and was 12th last May.

Steve Stricker (65), playing on a sponsor exemption, was tied for fifth at 7 under with Rod Pampling and Billy Mayfair. Stricker lost his full-time tour playing privileges when he was No. 151 on the money list last year, also when his three-year exemption for the last of his three tour victories expired.

First-round leader Patrick Sheehan was 10 strokes worse Friday, following his opening 62 with a 72. Sheehan, who like Trahan hasn't won on the PGA Tour, was six strokes back at 6 under,

``It was almost identical to yesterday, hitting the ball decent in a couple of stretches and some wayward ones that cost me some shots,'' Sheehan said. ``I didn't make the putts like yesterday. ... But I'm still right in it.''

Sheehan's opening round included 11 birdies averaging 23 feet, with two chips of more than 55 feet and only two birdie putts less than 10 feet. He started Friday with a bogey, and had two double bogeys with only three birdies, two putts of less than 5 feet and a 50-footer.

Purdy had four birdies through his first 10 holes Friday, then put his approach at the 387-yard No. 2 hole into the lip of a bunker. He recovered from the bogey with a 20-foot birdie on the next hole.

``I made a quantum leap last week, no question,'' Purdy said. ``I have faith in what's going on right now. I just feel great.''

After starting with birdies on his first two holes, Perry wrapped up a front-nine 31 by hitting out of a fairway bunker to set up a 14-foot birdie putt at the 408-yard ninth.

Perry drove into the trees at the 611-yard 11th, but pitched back into the fairway and then hit a 9-iron by the hole for another birdie. He added consecutive birdies at Nos. 16 and 17.

Trahan put his tee shot at No. 9 in the middle of the fairway past the bordering bunkers before a pitch shot that set up a 6-foot birdie. That was the tour rookie's third birdie in a front-nine showing that also included three bogeys, his only of the round.

Before missing the cut by a stroke last week, along with Tiger Woods, Trahan had consecutive ninth-place finishes at New Orleans and the Wachovia Championship.

Divots: Defending champion Steve Flesch (79-71) missed the cut at 10 over. Only Ben Hogan has won consecutive Colonials. ... Mickelson, the 2000 Colonial champion and only of the Big Five playing here, is among 72 players who made the cut. He shot a 69 for an even-par 140 total. ... Tim Clark had six straight birdies on way to a 64. He missed a chance to go lower with two bogeys in a four-hole stretch.
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