Jesper, Where Have You Been?

October 05, 2007

Jesper Parnevik is hotter than a Texas summer in October right now.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Jesper Parnevik followed his career-best opening 61 with a 5-under 65 on Friday to take a four-stroke lead midway through the Texas Open.

The 42-year-old Swede had a 14-under 126 total, the lowest 36-hole score on the PGA Tour this year and just a stroke off the tour record of 125 held by Tiger Woods, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Lehman and Corey Pavin. Parnevik is seeking his first victory since taking the 2001 Honda Classic for his fifth tour title.

"What can I say?" Parnevik asked, shrugging. "I, of course, think the course has played very easy. It's always nice when you have a few to spare than the other way around. I would like to be in the lead by as many as possible."

Sweden's Mathias Gronberg was second after a 65 in dry, calm conditions at LaCantera Golf Club Resort Course. He eagled the par-5 14th with a 16-foot putt before birdies on 16 and 18 with putts inside 10 feet.

Two other Swedes -- Fredrik Jacobson (65) and Richard S. Johnson (66) -- were 9 under, and Justin Leonard, the 2000 and '01 winner, was 8 under after a 67.

Parnevik's Honda Classic victory more than six years ago came when he shared the first-round lead and never trailed the rest of the way. He had a wire-to-wire victory in the 1999 Greater Greensboro Open.

"He's probably a great front-runner," Johnson said. "I said to my caddie this morning, when (Parnevik) putts well, he putts really well. And, I mean, he always hits it good. He's going to shoot 4 or 5 under everyday if the weather is going to continue being like this."

John Daly shot his second 2-over 72 and missed the cut. It's the 14th time in 21 events this year that Daly has either missed the cut or withdrawn.

Colt Knost, the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Public Links champ from SMU, made the cut in his professional debut. His 68 put him at 1 under, right on the number for the cut.

Parnevik came into the day with a four-shot advantage over 10 players. But he quickly put more distance on them with a birdie-birdie start. Combined with a birdie-birdie finish Thursday, it gave him four straight and had him at 11 under.

Still, his lead dipped to one when Shigeki Maruyama, one of those players in the 10-way tie for second, opened with five birdies in seven holes to get it to 10 under.

Parnevik's advantage was four shots again when he birdied Nos. 7 and 9 with a pair of 15-footers. Following a three-putt bogey at the 11th, he added birdies at 13 and 14.

And Maruyama, thanks to a double bogey at the 426-yard 12th with a penalty stroke after his approach rattled into the ravine fronting the green, stumbled home in 3 over through the final 11 holes. He shot a 68 to finish at 7 under.

Jacobson and Johnson crept to three behind not long after Parnevik's three-putt from 23 feet at the 438-yard No. 11.

Jacobson got to 9 under when he birdied the short, par-4 16th with a 15-footer. Johnson reached 9 under when he chipped to less than 2 feet on the par-5 14th.