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Taking advantage of the USGA rules

Tom Watson, who is two shots behind leader Lee Janzen, did something during his round Friday that would be illegal in a PGA Tour event. He practiced putting on the sixth green after playing the hole.

United States Golf Association rules allow a player to hit practice putts on a green he has already played as long as it does not hold up the group behind.

"I went over and hit eight or 10 practice putts after I finished the sixth hole," Watson said. "I tried to change my position and it worked at No.

7. Since there was no one waiting on me and we were going to have to wait on the next tee, I had the luxury of hitting a few practice putts and it seemed to work."

The putts

If Bradenton's Paul Azinger is to win his first major championship this weekend, he will have to do a better job on the greens.

That was his assessment after shooting 2-under-par 68 Friday to move into contention despite missing several short putts. Nonetheless, Azinger birdied three of the last four holes.

"I could be so far under par right now," Azinger said. "Other than one, I think I've missed every putt I've had between 4 and 7 feet. Ordinarily, if I'm in contention, I'm making everything. But I've been hitting the ball so good I haven't had to make everything."

Azinger is five shots behind at 139.

You had to know

You knew first-round leader Joey Sindelar wasn't going to hold up. If missing three cuts in his past six tournaments and finishing no better than 25th in the others wasn't a clue, this interesting tidbit should be very telling.

At the Kemper Open last month, Sindelar was paired in the pro-am with former vice president Dan Quayle, an avid golfer. Quayle waxed Sindelar 72-76. If you have to give the former vice president two shots a side, you're not going to win the U.S. Open.

Sindelar didn't even make the cut. After opening with a 66, he shot 79 Friday. His round began double bogey-bogey-bogey.

Miscellany

With a triple-bogey 7 on the sixth hole, Nick Faldo could manage no better than 74 and 144 total, barely making the cut. Ted Oh, 16, had a tough day. The second-youngest player to ever compete in the U.S. Open had a double-bogey 6 on the first hole and a quadruple-bogey 8 on the third hole. He shot 79. Palm Harbor's Brian Claar made the cut at 141 with a par-70. But Palm Harbor's John Huston and Oldsmar's Bill Glasson failed to make it. Huston shot 78 for 150. Glasson, after a first-round 69, had 76 for 145. There were 88 players who made the 36-hole cut at 144, a U.S. Open record. The previous record was 77 players who qualified for the final two rounds in 1987 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. The cut at 144 was also a record. The previous record, 145, was set at Oak Hill Country Club in 1989 and matched the following year at Medinah. For the second day in a row, Valrico's Pete Jordan eagled the 18th hole. This time, it helped him shoot par-70. He is at 141, 1 over par, and made the cut in his first U.S. Open.

Tough cuts

Tom Kite's reign as U.S. Open champion came to an end when he missed the cut. His 145 total was one too many. "I am not hitting the ball well," Kite said. "I am struggling, and the U.S. Open is not the place to be hitting the ball poorly." Masters champion Bernhard Langer (145) also missed, the victim of a sore neck.

_ BOB HARIG

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