Teaching the Tour a Lesson : Golf: Harry Taylor, a veteran of qualifying school, is not only leading Bob Hope, he's also on a record pace.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Harry Taylor Show continued its impromptu run Friday at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, where the full-time club designer, part-time club swinger joined, well, you might say an exclusive club.

Taylor, 40, a 14-time veteran of the PGA Tour's qualifying school, shot a 66, six under par, at Bermuda Dunes and is somehow sprinting into the weekend with a two-shot lead in the $1.2-million tournament.

All right, so Taylor spent a lot of time in tour school. With that first-place money of $216,000, he could hire a tutor.

Taylor knows what it all means.

"It's just one of those times there's always a longshot guy," he said. "Sometimes they come through, sometimes they don't."

So far, Taylor has been coming straight at the flagstick. It seems like sort of a fantasy golf world out there right now:

--Putts turn corners.

--Drives carom off the ozone layer and drop right in the middle of the fairway.

--Harry Taylor leads a tournament.

Oops, better snap out of it. Then again, at this stage of the tournament, it's clear Taylor has a firm grip on unreality.

"I've always said, if I can ever win a tournament, it would be a perfect way for me to retire," he said.

"I could wave to everybody and walk away. Naw. Heck, at this age, I don't know what I'd do (except play golf)."

With 36 holes left, Taylor isn't merely winning the tournament, he's on a record pace.

His 20-under total of 196 is a Bob Hope best, a shot better than the 54-hole mark previously held by Lennie Clements, Tim Simpson and Mark O'Meara.

Taylor's rounds of 66-64-66 are nice-looking numbers, but he still is only two shots ahead of Kenny Perry and three up on David Duval.

Six shots back at 202, 14 under par, is the six pack of O'Meara, Fuzzy Zoeller, Bob Burns, Pat Burke, Donnie Hammond and Tommy Armour III.

Perry came up with a 64 at Indian Wells, even though he began with a bogey. Perry said it got him going.

"It lit a fire under me," he said. "I was ready to play golf then."

Since that's what they're doing here all week, Perry had the right idea. He birdied six of the next nine holes and three of the last five, posting his second sub-65 round.

Perry, who began with a 63 on Wednesday, said he thinks his time practicing will pay off. He also has a plan.

"If I can keep shooting low rounds, Harry will have to shoot lower," Perry said. "All I can do is make as many birdies as I can."

Meanwhile, the Harry Taylor birdie count continued. He has enough now to fill several cages, his six on Friday pushing his total to 21, against a single bogey.

Duval produced a seven-under 65 at Indian Ridge, which put him 16 under for the tournament.

Things didn't start well, either, for Duval, who bogeyed his first two holes. But like Perry, he turned it around quickly. Duval rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 14, his fifth hole, and racked up eight more birdies the rest of the way.

It almost never happened. Duval was tired and thinking about withdrawing Tuesday, then decided to go ahead and play.

"I thought, 'Well, I'm here, let's play,' " he said.

And, after all, it's sort of nice playing golf in the desert in the sunshine.

"It's tough not to be out there smiling and having a good day," Duval said.

Taylor knows the feeling. He even acts as if he isn't going anywhere soon.

"I just keep hanging around," he said.

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BOB HOPE GOLF

LEADERS

Player: Score

Harry Taylor: 66-64-66--196

Kenny Perry: 63-71-64--198

David Duval: 67-68-65--200

Paul Stankowski: 71-64-66--201

Donnie Hammond: 67-69-66--202

Tommy Armour III: 66-67-69--202

Fuzzy Zoeller: 68-68-66--202

Mark O'Meara: 69-68-65--202

Bob Burns: 68-69-65--202

Patrick Burke: 68-67-67--202

Five players tied at 203

*

OTHERS

Curtis Strange: 64-73-67--204

Tom Kite: 71-71-64--206

Scott Hoch: 70-69-68--207

Corey Pavin: 69-70-72--211

Lanny Wadkins: 69-74-68--211

Arnold Palmer: 76-72-75--223

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