Appleby leads Owen

Stuart Appleby took a one-stroke lead over Greg Owen in the suspended second round of the Shell Houston Open on Friday.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Stuart Appleby took a one-stroke lead over Greg Owen in the suspended second round of the Shell Houston Open on Friday. He finished 16 bogey-free holes in 5 under to push his two-day total to 11 under. The first-round leader started on the back nine and moved to 11 under with a birdie on No 6. He was one of 44 players who had to return to the course early Saturday to finish the round. A predawn storm dumped 1.5 cm of rain at The Tournament Course at Redstone, delaying the start of the second round by over two hours. Missed opportunity Owen teed off late in the afternoon and birdied five of his last seven holes for a 65, the lowest score of the tournament. A month ago, a three-putt from 3 feet cost Owen a chance to win at Bay Hill. Owen talked to noted sports psychologist Bob Rotella shortly after the gaffe. Rotella's advice? "Concentrate on everything you did right," Owen said. "The majority of the things were all positive". The 34-year-old Englishman had plenty of those on Friday, too. He made a 3-foot birdie putt on 13, holed a bunker shot on the par-3 14th and finished the round with a bending 20-footer on the difficult 18th. "I'm just trying to have a good time and I'm playing pretty well, which helps," Owen said. "Just trying to see the good shots more than the bad shots". Outright lead Appleby started his round a half-hour later. Like Owen, Appleby birdied the two par 5s on the back nine. The Australian tacked on two more birdies as the sun was setting to retake the outright lead. "You put it in the fairway. The game becomes a lot easier," Appleby said. "I drove it well, putted pretty good. But nothing fancy. Just good, solid golf". 'Good golf' South Africa's Trevor Immelman was 8 under after a 67. The 26-year-old Immelman has missed the cut in his last four starts, but said his results don't reflect how well he's played. "I would say frustration sums the whole thing up because I really felt like the whole year I've hit the ball quite well," he said. A victory in Texas just might top his experience at the Presidents Cup last September, what he termed the "best golfing week of my life". Mathias Gronberg was 7 under after a 69. He shot a 68 in blustery conditions on Thursday and was disappointed he didn't go lower in the second round. Australians Aaron Baddeley and Stephen Leaney were both at 6 under. Leaney had three holes to play on Saturday morning. Two-time defending champion Vijay Singh was 4 under after a 71 that included a double bogey. (AP)