Caddie Travis Hansen put his arm around Tadd Fujikawa as they left the ninth green, Fujikawa's final hole of the day, during yesterday's second round of the Reno-Tahoe Open.
Flesch leads Reno-Tahoe Open by 2
Wilson, McLachlin advance; Fujikawa, Wie miss cuts
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RENO, Nev. » Local PGA Tour pros Dean Wilson and Parker McLachlin managed to do something yesterday at the Reno-Tahoe Open that 16-year-old Tadd Fujikawa did not -- make the cut.
Fujikawa followed Thursday's opening round of 6-over 78 with a 1-under 71 yesterday for a two-day total of 5-over 149. He missed the cut of 144 by five shots.
"I didn't make the cut in this one, but I definitely learned a lot," said the 5-foot-1 Fujikawa, who had one of the biggest galleries following him.
"Hopefully next time I can use the knowledge I gained from this one to do better in the next one."
McLachlin fell on the cut line with back-to-back even-par 72s for a two-day total of 144. Wilson managed consecutive 71s to survive as well at 2-under 142. It is the first time Wilson has played through to the weekend since the U.S. Open six weeks back.
The Castle High product has been bothered by a wrist injury that forced him to withdraw from the John Deere Classic three weeks ago. He is currently 76th on the FedEx Cup points list with 3,763 in 20 events. He has missed the cut eight times.
McLachlin needs several good finishes over the next few weeks to make it into the first round of the FedEx Cup that begins with the Barclays Classic in three weeks. The top 144 players in the Cup chase are eligible. McLachlin is No. 154 with 1,255 points in 19 events. He has missed the cut 10 times, including four in a row prior to surviving at last week's Canadian Open.
Michelle Wie wasn't as fortunate across the pond at the Women's British Open. She missed the cut after shooting a 7-over 80 yesterday that included a triple bogey at the par-4 13th. Wie fell two shots short of the cut line. She will play in two more women's events over the next three weeks, before going to Stanford this fall.
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RENO, Nev. » Steve Flesch made six birdies yesterday to overcome a double bogey and swirling winds and shoot a 69 for a two-stroke lead midway through the Reno-Tahoe Open at 12-under-par 132.
Charles Warren, one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, shot a 9-under-par 63 and was two shots back in second place at 10 under. His round was yesterday's best in relatively calm morning conditions before winds gusting up to 30 mph picked up in the afternoon at the 7,472-yard, par-72 Montreux Golf & Country Club on the edge of the Sierra Nevada.
"It was tough out there," Flesch said. "The wind was blustery, blowing around. It was a lot different than the golf course we played yesterday."
Flesch has two victories in 11 years on tour and more than $13 million in career earnings but hasn't won since the Bank of America Colonial in 2004.
The 40-year-old left-hander said he's just as happy to be playing well at Reno with its $3 million purse as he would be if he were at the $8 million World Golf Championships at Firestone Country Club in Ohio, where the world's top 84 are competing this weekend.
"I'm just glad I'm playing better. Whether I'm playing at Firestone or whether I'm playing here, it really doesn't matter to me. I haven't won in a couple of years so that's all I'm really concentrating on."
Warren's 301-yard driving average ranks ninth on the PGA Tour, but he's struggled with his putts. For that, he had a solution.
"I've got to let the cat out of the bag -- I'm putting with a belly putter for the first time ever this week," he said. "I had it before Sergio (Garcia) played with it in the British Open, so I'm not a copycat.
"My ball striking has always been good enough to compete out here, it's just a matter of me putting well from time to time to give myself a chance."
Argentina's Jose Conceres, who made a hole-in-one en route to an opening 64, dropped back to third place with a round at even par for an 8-under 136.
Australia's Steve Allan followed an opening 65 with a 72 yesterday for a two-round total of 7-under 137, tied for fourth with Reno resident Todd Fischer (68), Jason Dufner (70) and former Virginia Tech teammates Johnson Wagner (69) and Brendon de Jonge (70).
A group of six players another stroke back included Corey Pavin (71), Shaun Micheel (70) and Jason Gore (72).
Defending champ Will MacKenzie shot a 73 but made the even-par cut at 5-under 139, as did Steve Elkington, who shot 70 yesterday.
Tadd Fujikawa, a 16-year-old high school junior from Hawaii, shot a 71 yesterday but missed the cut at 5 over in his professional debut.
Flesch started the day on the back nine with a one-stroke lead at 9 under and got to 12 under at the turn before he double-bogeyed his 11th hole of the day, taking two shots to get out of a buried lie in the deep bunker in front of the par-3 second and missing his 6-foot bogey attempt. He bounced back on the par-5 fourth with a 3-foot birdie putt and added another birdie on the difficult 464-yard par-4 eighth when he hit a sand wedge 133 yards to inside 2 feet.
Like he did on Thursday when he averaged hitting his approach shots to within 18 feet of the hole, Flesch fired at the pins for four birdies on his opening nine -- two from 14 feet, one from 3 feet and one from 10 inches.
"Over the course of my career, my iron game has always been the strongest part so I'm happy that's kind of behaving a little bit now," he said.