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Caddie's hints bolster Sutton


POTOMAC -- Behind every golfer stands a devoted caddie.

For Hal Sutton, his caddie stands front and center.

Pete Bender, 46, is known as one of the best caddies. He has been a caddie for 26 years and teamed up with Sutton two weeks ago.

"He's probably one of the best caddies on the tour," Sutton said. "He stays into it as much as I do. He understands the game and pays attention to things like I am and that helps me out. He's been a nice addition to my bag."

The Santa Cruz, Calif., resident has caddied for Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus, Ian Baker-Finch and Raymond Floyd among others.

Sutton cites Bender as a major reason for adjustments he made after an even-par 71 on Thursday to a 5-under par 66 in the second round. Sutton's 5-under 137 puts him six strokes back of leader Davis Love III.

"I just try to pick out his weaknesses and tell him what he did wrong," Bender said. "I'm a coach out here, and I'm working with the best in the world. It's a challenge to help guys at this. It's been 26 years and I still get excited every time they tee off. It's in my blood."

Feeling lucky

Robert Gamez's putting may have saved his 1-under par 70 second-round score.

"I hit it terrible today," said Gamez, who opened at 6-under. "It was not a very good day for ball-striking for me. I have been a streak player throughout my career in college and everything else."

Gamez worked with Todd Sones, who was recommended to him by fellow pro Chip Beck, at the beginning of the year on his putting. The result: He's jumped from 125th to 10th in the putting rankings.

Local flavor

After shooting a 2-over 73 on Thursday, Fred Funk improved on that with a 71 for a total of 144.

Unfortunately for Funk, first-round bogeys on the 15th and 17th proved to be his undoing. The University of Maryland alumnus and former golf coach missed the cut, which came at even-par 142.

Among the 71 who made the cut was Frederick native Donnie Hammond. He shot a 1-over 72 yesterday.

Other locals who did not make the cut: Frederick's Mike McGinnis (156), Columbia's Wayne DeFrancesco (144), Gaithersburg's Lyle Williams (160), Rockville's Eric Egloff (150), Chevy Chase's Jim Fitzgerald (150) and Bethesda's Jack Skilling (160).

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