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Kenny Perry Tied For Clubhouse Lead At The Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Kenny Perry thought nothing could top an
emotional embrace with his 85-year-old father in their native
Kentucky seven months ago as a Ryder Cup hero dressed in red, white
and blue.
How about the oldest man to slip on a green jacket?
On a blustery Friday at the Masters that featured a record
number of birdies and eagles, the 48-year-old Perry grabbed a share
of the 36-hole lead with Chad Campbell by playing what he called
one of the best rounds of his career.
No one as old as Perry has ever won a major championship.
Perry has never so much as finished in the top 10 at Augusta
National.
"I've had a great career, and I'd be very satisfied if it ended
today," he said. "The Ryder Cup, I can't express to y'all how
much that meant to me. That was the ultimate of anything I have
ever, ever been a part of or accomplished, be it any of my 13 wins.
"But Dad has always said, 'You need to win that green jacket.'
He always calls me and tells me."
Now, even Perry is starting to believe.
He is equipped with a new driver that makes him feel he can hit
any fairway. He has a 64-degree sand wedge that has taken the edge
off the scary chips around the green. He is confident over every
putt.
"Obviously last year, he showed what he can do when he gets on
a roll," Campbell said. "He's definitely going to be tough to
beat."
Augusta National was tougher than the opening round, but even
with tougher pins and gusts that swirled through Amen Corner and
lasted deep into the afternoon, the fireworks were just as endless.
Campbell got off to another solid start and finished with a
25-foot birdie for a 70, sharing the lead with Perry at 9-under
135. They had a one-shot lead over former U.S. Open champion Angel
Cabrera, who had a 68.
Anthony Kim set a tournament record with 11 birdies on his way
to a 65 - 10 shots better than his first round - to get into
contention in his Masters debut. Phil Mickelson was on the verge of
missing the cut until he played his last seven holes in 5 under for
a 68. Sergio Garcia shot a 67, the first time he has broken par at
the Masters in five years.
There were a record 17 eagles in the second round, breaking by
two the mark set in 1997.
Tiger Woods couldn't join this parade of birdies and eagles for
the second straight day. All three of his birdies were followed by
bogeys, and his 72 left him seven shots behind. Woods has never won
a major when trailing by more than six shots after 36 holes.
"It was just tough all round," said Woods, who headed straight
for the practice range.
Maybe for him, but not for the 25 players who managed to break
par.
It was tough on Gary Player, Fuzzy Zoeller and Greg Norman for
other reasons.
Player completed his remarkable career at the Masters by
competing for the 52nd and final time. The 73-year-old South
African, who won three green jackets, knelt before reaching the
18th green and clasped his hands to thank the gallery.
Zoeller also is calling it quits after an Augusta National
career remembered for winning the first sudden-death playoff at the
Masters in 1979, and for his racially insensitive comments after
Woods won in 1997.
The return of the Shark lasted only two days. Norman shot 40 on
the back nine for a 77 to miss the cut by two shots in what likely
will be his last time playing the Masters, 22 years without ever
getting upstairs to the champions' locker room.
Is there room up there for a 48-year-old from Kentucky?
"Everything is a bonus now, it really is," Perry said. "I'm
just going through each and every day enjoying life a little bit. I
think I can win. I'm not going out there very casually. I'm burning
inside, wanting to kick everybody's butt."
Jack Nicklaus was 46 when he became the oldest Masters champion
in 1986. The oldest to win any major was Julius Boros, who was 48
when he won the 1968 PGA Championship. Perry is about four months
older.
Despite his paltry record at the Masters - five missed cuts in
eight appearances - a victory would not be all that surprising.
Perry won earlier this year in Phoenix and is No. 11 in the world
ranking.
"That was probably one of the greatest rounds I've ever
played," said Perry said, who made it through Friday without a
single bogey. "I just didn't have any nerves. I was so comfortable
out there today. I don't know how to explain it. But it was just
easy."
It was easy enough for Todd Hamilton, the former British Open
champion who has had only two top 10s since his victory at Royal
Troon five years ago. In his final year of eligibility at the
Masters, he had a 70 and was in fourth place at 6-under 138.
Kim was in the group at 4-under 140 that included Garcia and Jim
Furyk (74), while Mickelson's late rally put him in a tie for 11th
at 141 along with Geoff Ogilvy (70), Steve Stricker (69) and
46-year-old Vijay Singh (70).
"I haven't been making 11 birdies in two days, so to make 11 in
one day is pretty special," said the 23-year-old Kim, regarded as
the next American star in golf. "And obviously, to do it at
Augusta is amazing. Hopefully, I can build off that, and if I keep
the putter hot, I like my chances here."
Padraig Harrington's hopes of a third straight major took a dive
with a 73, leaving him seven shots behind. Not only was he crushed
by seeing four putts spin around the lip, the Irishman was assessed
a one-shot penalty on the 15th hole when a gust moved his ball
after he had grounded his putter.
He was tied with Woods, and not about to give up - not this
year, on this golf course.
"Here at Augusta, it is not a big deal to be seven behind,"
Harrington said. "There are a number of players under par and
we're expecting a tougher challenge over the weekend."
The cut was at 1-over 145, the lowest since Augusta National
went through its first big overhaul to lengthen the golf course.
Among those going home were Ernie Els and Fred Couples for the
second straight year, Adam Scott and two of the teenagers -
17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa and 18-year-old Danny Lee, the U.S.
Amateur who will turn pro on Monday.
Perry already was looking forward to this month upon learning
that he and his father will be honorary marshals during the week of
the Kentucky Derby.
"Hopefully, I can wear the green jacket while I'm doing all
that," he said.


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