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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Fleisher takes a step back

TBO.com Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 03:21 AM

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One day after crafting an opening round he described as "beautiful,'' Bruce Fleisher experienced the ugly side of TPC Tampa Bay.

The first-round leader at the Encompass Insurance Pro-Am followed a 65 with a 78 on Saturday, undermined by a disastrous front side marked by four bogeys and a triple-bogey.

"It was tough club selection out there today,'' said Fleisher, who hit two balls into the water at the par-4 fourth hole. "The pins were tough, and I made two bogeys with wedges in my hand. That's unheard of for me and the guys out here. This golf course will keep you off balance.''

Fleisher, 63, was a sensation in his rookie year on the Champions Tour, winning seven events in 1999. He has won this event twice, but Fleisher is winless since 2004, and Saturday's struggles left him at 1-over-par, 10 shots behind leader Michael Allen.

Old Kentucky home

Kenny Perry, starting to feel better after being sidelined for two weeks by a viral infection, overcame a pair of double-bogeys for a 67.

The longest hitter on the Champions Tour, Perry enjoyed the camaraderie with Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino and Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan.

"If you would have told me I was going to shoot a 67 today, I would have been jumping for joy,'' Perry said. "A lot of good things happened, and I actually felt like myself. I made eight birdies out here — I had it running.''

Pitino had a blast playing with the 51-year-old Kentucky native.

"Kenny went to Western Kentucky, and I love his golf game,'' said Pitino, a 14 handicap who played the front side in 3 over. "Take away those two double-bogeys and Kenny played sensational. For me to keep the ball airborne out here is a lot of fun.''

Tee shots

Three pros dropped out of the tournament Saturday because of injuries: Tom Watson (hand), Andy Bean (back) and Wayne Levi (back). … David Peoples entered second-round play at 1 over and soared to an 80 in the breezy conditions, posting six bogeys and a pair of double bogeys. … A spectator in a runaway wheelchair tumbled into a green-side bunker at No. 18 in the late afternoon, but help arrived quickly and he appeared unhurt after being checked by a member of the medical staff.

Ira Kaufman

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