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Knost takes long road back

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Colt Knost believes he's finally ready to succeed on the PGA Tour, no matter how much work he's got ahead at the RBC Heritage.

Knost shot a 6-under 66 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead over Carl Pettersson after the second round. Knost, tied for the first-round lead with Chad Campbell and Vaughn Taylor after a 67, had three birdies in a four-hole stretch midway through the round and finished at 9-under 133.

Pettersson had a 65, his best ever showing in 32 career rounds at Harbour Town Golf Links. Two-time RBC Heritage winner Boo Weekley (66) and Harris English (68) were another shot off the lead at 6 under.

Campbell (70) and Robert Garrigus (66) were four shots behind.

The 26-year-old Knost was one of the fastest risers in golf a few years ago, winning the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Public Links championship. He won twice on the Nationwide Tour in 2008, his first season as a pro, and easily qualified for the big tour. Even more winning was ahead, right?

"I felt like I was ready for this level out here," Knost said. "And apparently, I wasn't."

Knost missed the cut in 13 of 24 tour events that year and earned just $180,734 to lose his card after 2009. He regained playing privileges after another season on the Nationwide Tour and again struggled at the higher level, missing 15 of 26 cuts. He held on to his tour card in a gut-wrenching experience at Q-school -- he was in tears when he thought a double bogey on the 108th and final hole cost him the PGA Tour -- and has since tried to rediscover the work habits and confidence that made him one of the decade's best amateurs.

Elsewhere, Bruce Fleisher shot a 6-under 65 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Michael Allen and Chien Soon Lu after the first round of the Champions Tour's Encompass Insurance Pro-Am.

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