Chip Beck, a seven-time runner-up but a non-winner in his first nine years on the PGA Tour, shot an eight-under-par 63 and took the second-round lead Friday in the $650,000 Phoenix Open golf tournament.
"The key to my round was that I took advantage of my opportunities; at this level, that's the name of the game," Beck said after making five of his eight birdies on putts of three feet or less.
Beck completed two trips over the TPC Course in 129, putting him two strokes in front of runner-up Davis Love III at the halfway point of the chase for a $117,000 first prize.
It's a position with which he's familiar.
"Who knows how many times I've been there?" asked Beck, whose list of near-misses includes a second-place finish in the 1986 U.S. Open.
"I've been in the position where I really felt I was going to win. A lot of times I beat myself. That's the most disappointing thing.
"I can recall as vividly as yesterday tournaments I should have won. But I didn't have the level of skill I needed at the time. I kept getting there and kept getting knocked down because I didn't have the mechanical skills I needed.
"I have tried to assess my game and grow from it. I think I have. I am not burdened by the failures of the past. I'm moving in the right direction.
"I look forward to the challenge over the next two days. If I keep getting there, eventually I'll win," Beck said.
Love, the first-round leader, had a 68 and drifted back to second at 131.
Fred Couples shot a 65 and was at 132. South African David Frost was next at 133 after a shooting a 66.
The group at 134 included Hal Sutton, Gil Morgan and Jeff Sluman. Morgan and Sutton each had a 66, and Sluman shot a 67.
Defending champion Paul Azinger, the 1987 player of the year, could do no better than a 72 and failed to qualify for the final two rounds with a 148.
Fuzzy Zoeller (147), Andy Bean (144) and Hubert Green (148) also missed.
U.S. Open champion Scott Simpson slept through his early-morning tee time and was disqualified. "A stupid mistake," Simpson said.