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The Tour Report

July 19 2013

6:15 PM

Stankowski rides putter into contention

Stankowski needed just 25 putts in his second round Friday in Mississippi. (Cox/Getty Images)

By Rusty Hampton, Special to PGATOUR.COM

MADISON, Miss. -- “Hey Stank,” asked a caddie, grinning: “You still know how to do interviews?”

“Nah,” said Paul Stankowski, telling what turned out to be a lie.

Stankowski, a 43-year-old PGA TOUR veteran who did a stint in TV broadcasting in 2005 during one of his several injury-related absences, was refreshingly candid on a scorching hot Friday afternoon at Annandale Golf Club.

After shooting a 4-under 68 to grab a share of the early second-round lead in the Sanderson Farms Championship at 10 under, Stankowski tried to explain why he’s been mostly absent from leaderboards -- and interviews -- over the last decade.

It has a little something to do with the flat stick.

“I watch a lot of golf and everybody who plays well makes putts and I haven’t really made any putts -- for 10 years,” cracked Stankowski. “So it’s kind of nice to make some putts and join the party. That was good.”

Stankowski drained a 50-foot eagle putt on No. 18 to cap his first-round 66 and had took 25 putts overall for the round. He took 30 putts in the second round. He played 30 holes on a brutally hot Friday, finishing his rain-delayed first round and then getting in 18 more holes before play was stopped because of lightning.

First-round leader Daniel Summerhays (63) had just teed off when the horn sounded at 3:59 p.m. (CDT), stopping play. Stankowski is tied at the moment at 10 under with Vaughn Taylor (67-67) and Fabian Gomez (70-64), who made a bomb of his own (from 52 feet) for eagle on the par-5 18th.

Stankowski won twice on TOUR in the 1990s but lost his full-time status several years ago. He’s been playing the Tour this year, making just three of eight cuts. This is his first PGA TOUR event of the year.

“I’m one-for-one in cuts made this year, so that’s good,” said Stankowski, smiling.

Asked if he was surprised by the way he played, Stankowski quit smiling, paused, then said: “I know it’s in me. We’re halfway home and anything can happen.”

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