Steve Flesch has been on TV in recent years, but more as a golf analyst than touring pro.Things will be different this weekend. Flesch is a surprise name near the top of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. The 2004 Colonial champion posted a bogey-free 6-under 64 on Friday, and is among the contenders at 8 under going into the weekend.Ive enjoyed doing television work, but nothing can replace tournament golf, said Flesch, who celebrated his 46th birthday Thursday. Until you tee it up in a tournament, you really dont know what your nerves are like. Im glad I played good the first two days. Its nice to be out on the weekend.Flesch hasnt been around for a weekend as a player in a while. His last cut made was in October 2011 when he finished 65th in the Frys.com Open.Last year, Flesch didnt make the cut in any of the 12 tournaments he played. He had surgery on his right shoulder in August and then withdrew from the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament last December.It had been a difficult fall for one of the better golfers from 2000-08. Flesch made at least $1 million in eight of those nine years, including four years of hitting the $2 million mark.But Flesch found himself in a tough spot going into this season. Hes on a major medical exemption because of his shoulder injury, which means he has six events to earn $647,510 to extend his nonexempt medical extension. If not, hell go to past champion status.He missed the cut in his first two tournaments this year, the AT&T Pebble National Pro-Am in February and last weeks HP Byron Nelson Championship. Flesch, however, showed signs of finding his stroke last week, firing a 4-under 66 in the second round after an opening-round 77.Flesch has carried it over to this week and could clear the money hurdle in one tournament by finishing first or second. But thats not how hes approaching it.Ive honestly been playing hurt for the last two years now and it isnt much fun, Flesch said. Last year was no fun at all. Im finally healthy and its nice to play. Its a cliche, but Im taking each week as an opportunity, and last week I was getting accustomed to playing well again.This week, Im comfortable here. You get the putter going here and anything can happen.Flesch had a stretch of four consecutive birdies during the day.Ive got a nice rhythm right now with the putter and made a lot of good ones today, Flesch said.Believe me, today was a big day for me. If I would have come out and shot a couple over par and missed another cut today, it would have been a tough rest of 2013.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison