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GOLF ROUNDUP

Curtis rides a 66 to the fore

Ben Curtis's first MCI Heritage could turn out like his last trip to the British Open.

Curtis shot a season-best 5-under-par 66 yesterday to take a one-stroke lead over Heath Slocum after two rounds of the MCI Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Curtis is atop the leaderboard for just the second time since raising the claret jug last July. He is eager to prove he's not the best major champion never to win on tour.

"I know I'm the Open champion, but at the same time you have to look past it and look to the future, not always rely on the past," Curtis said. "I want to prove that it was no fluke."

So far, so good.

Curtis finished at 8-under 134, one better than Slocum, who shot a 67. Ted Purdy had a 67 and was two strokes off the lead, while Darren Clarke (66), Patrick Sheehan (66), John Huston (68), 20-year-old rookie Kevin Na (68), and 50-year-old Jay Haas (69) are three strokes back.

Davis Love, the defending champ and a five-time winner here, made three straight birdies on the back nine to offset three consecutive bogeys on the front. He rallied for a 70 and was eight shots behind. Ernie Els, who finished second to Phil Mickelson at the Masters, had five birdies and four bogeys and was five strokes off the lead.

LPGA -- Cristie Kerr rolled in five birdie putts and played a bogey-free round on her way to a 5-under 67 and a four-shot lead in the Takefjui Classic in Las Vegas. Kerr moved to 8-under 136 through two rounds of the 54-hole tournament at Las Vegas Country Club. She began the day in a four-way tie for the lead at 3 under.

After the second round, Heather Daly-Donofrio (68), Seol-An Jeon (70), and Stacy Prammanasudh (71) were tied for second at 140.

Champions -- Fuzzy Zoeller shot a 5-under 65 in the opening round of the Blue Angels Classic in Milton, Fla., for a one-stroke lead over Gil Morgan and defending champion Bob Gilder.

European -- Cesar Monasterio of Argentina holds the second-round lead in the Seville (Spain) Open after shooting a 5-under 67. Monasterio, a 40-year-old European tour rookie, was at 9 under, one stroke ahead of Raul Ballesteros (Seve's nephew), fellow-Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez, and Emanuele Canonica of Italy.

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