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Relaxed Stadler leads Mickelson at HSBC

By STEPHEN WADE
Associated Press

SHANGHAI, China – Kevin Stadler came to the HSBC Champions tournament with few expectations. He was even prepared to have a bad week in China.

What mattered was being free of the pressure of the PGA Tour, where he has struggled to find his niche.

Instead, Stadler leads two-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson by one shot, carding a 3-under 69 Friday for an 11-under 133 total to top a field that includes 10 of the world’s top 20.

Drawing the largest galleries in the absence of Tiger Woods, No. 2-ranked Mickelson shot a 66 with four birdies on the last five holes to go with Thursday’s 68. Englishman Ross Fisher (68) and Simon Yates (66) of Scotland were three behind at the Sheshan Golf Club.

Vijay Singh trailed by four after a 70 with other high-profile players far off the pace in the $5 million event, the biggest purse in Asian golf.

“I just kind of came here to have fun,” said Stadler, who saved his Tour card last Sunday – the final day of the season.

He needed to finish in the top 125 on the money list, and ended up at No. 124.

“I came here to enjoy the whole experience, not really, not really taking it all that seriously,” he said, pausing to rephrase his reply. “That doesn’t sound right. I don’t know how to word this properly. More relaxed.”

So far, Stadler seems comfortable everywhere except the PGA Tour. He’s had two strong seasons on the Nationwide Tour and his biggest win came in 2006 in Australia.

“I’m definitely more comfortable now that I am over there (PGA Tour),” he said. “I don’t know why that is. I do enjoy myself when I’m out of the country. I don’t know what the reason is for that, but I definitely feel more at ease when I’m playing over here.”

Mickelson finally produced on his first Asia swing. Last week he finished 16 behind in the Singapore Open. On Friday, he birdied four of the last five holes, negotiating a difficult wind and thick Bermuda rough that made the 7,199-yard course more testing than it was in a light breeze and sunshine on Thursday.

Mickelson ran in a 3-foot birdie putt on No. 14, dropped another from 10 feet at 16. On a roll, he birdied from 25 feet on 17 and had a 4-footer on 18.

“I played solid throughout and didn’t make a bogey,” Mickelson said. “I was able to play a good round in some tough conditions starting out, although the wind died down in the end.

Unlike Mickelson, many of the world’s other top-ranked players struggled on Friday.

British Open champion Padraig Harrington and U.S. Open winner Angel Cabrera each shot 72. So did Sergio Garcia.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen shot 74, Ernie Els had a 75, and Colin Montgomerie slipped to 78. Also, Niclas Fasth, who shared the first-round lead with Stadler, shot a 75 and was tied to drop into a tie for seventh at 5 under.

Scores with relation to par from the secondround of the HSBC Champions, played Nov. 9 at the par-72, 7,199-yardSheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China (Note: a-amateur):

1. Kevin Stadler 64-69–133
-11 2. Phil Mickelson 68-66–134
-10 3. Ross Fisher 68-68–136
-8 3. Simon Yates 70-66–136
-8 5. Andrew McLardy 68-69–137
-7 5. Vijay Singh 67-70–137
-7 7. Paul Casey 68-71–139
-5 7. Niclas Fasth 64-75–139
-5 7. Frankie Minoza 69-70–139
-5 7. Louis Oosthuizen 71-68–139
-5 7. Steve Webster 69-70–139
-5 7. Yong-Eun Yang 71-68–139
-5 13. Angel Cabrera 68-72–140
-4 13. Padraig Harrington 68-72–140
-4 13. Brett Rumford 69-71–140
-4 13. Henrik Stenson 70-70–140
-4 13. Richard Sterne 68-72–140
-4 18. Nick Dougherty 71-70–141
-3 18. Nathan Green 73-68–141
-3 18. Wen-Chong Liang 69-72–141
-3 21. Markus Brier 69-73–142
-2 21. Anders Hansen 70-72–142
-2 21. José Manuel Lara 70-72–142
-2 21. Chapchai Nirat 69-73–142
-2 21. Scott Sterling 69-73–142
-2 26. Retief Goosen 69-74–143
-1 26. Scott Hend 69-74–143
-1 26. Mikko Ilonen 74-69–143
-1 26. Soren Kjeldsen 71-72–143
-1 26. Wen-Tang Lin 71-72–143
-1 31. Ernie Els 75-69–144
E 31. Kyung-Tae Kim 71-73–144
E 31. Jason Knutzon 71-73–144
E 31. Jyoti Randhawa 70-74–144
E 31. Lee Westwood 70-74–144
E 31. Lian-Wei Zhang 70-74–144
E 37. K.J. Choi 68-77–145 + 1 37. Sergio Garcia 73-72–145 + 1 37. Gaurav Ghei 70-75–145 + 1 37. Michael Lorenzo-Vera 73-72–145 + 1 37. Hennie Otto 74-71–145 + 1 37. Charl Schwartzel 73-72–145 + 1 37. John Senden 73-72–145 + 1 37. Daniel Vancsik 70-75–145 + 1 45. Bradley Dredge 73-73–146 + 2 45. Gonzalo Fdez-Castaño 71-75–146 + 2 45. Anton Haig 77-69–146 + 2 45. Raphaël Jacquelin 71-75–146 + 2 45. Marc Leishman 74-72–146 + 2 45. Rodney Pampling 73-73–146 + 2 45. Andres Romero 69-77–146 + 2 45. Bradford Vaughan 74-72–146 + 2 53. Peter Hanson 72-75–147 + 3 53. Grégory Havret 72-75–147 + 3 53. Thaworn Wiratchant 75-72–147 + 3 56. Grégory Bourdy 77-71–148 + 4 56. Darren Fichardt 70-78–148 + 4 56. Søren Hansen 73-75–148 + 4 56. Peter Hedblom 73-75–148 + 4 56. Thongchai Jaidee 74-74–148 + 4 56. Nick O'Hern 74-74–148 + 4 56. Ian Poulter 70-78–148 + 4 56. Mads Vibe-Hastrup 75-73–148 + 4 64. Sung Lee 73-76–149 + 5 64. Pablo Martin 73-76–149 + 5 64. Juvic Pagunsan 71-78–149 + 5 64. Paul Sheehan 74-75–149 + 5 • • •

Missed The Cut

68. Richard Green 73-78–151 + 7 68. Trevor Immelman 77-74–151 + 7 68. Chao Li 77-74–151 + 7 68. Colin Montgomerie 73-78–151 + 7 68. Carl Suneson 74-77–151 + 7 73. Wen-Teh Lu 76-77–153 + 9 73. Graeme Storm 79-74–153 + 9 73. Wen-Gen Zheng 79-74–153 + 9 76. Ariel Canete 77-77–154 + 10 76. a-Mu Hu 83-71–154 + 10 76. Bae Sang-Moon 72-82–154 + 10 76. Nicholas Thompson 76-78–154 + 10 76. Marc Warren 75-79–154 + 10 81. Jean Hugo 77-78–155 + 11 81. Artemio Hiromas Murakami 80-75–155 + 11 81. Alvaro Quiros Garcia 80-75–155 + 11 84. Kang-Chun Wu 79-77–156 + 12 85. Wei-Huang Wu 78-79–157 + 13 86. Hao Yuan 78-80–158 + 14 87. Ming-Jie Huang 80-81–161 + 17 88. Airil-Rizman Zahari 81-81–162 + 18 89. Wen-Zhang Yang 81-82–163 + 19

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