Golf roundup

Weary Furyk finishes 36, in clubhouse lead

Associated Press / September 7, 2008
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Jim Furyk quietly pumped his fist when his final putt of a marathon day disappeared into the cup. Even though it was for bogey, this was cause for a small celebration yesterday at the BMW Championship in St. Louis.

He played 36 holes over 10 hours on a soggy course that made it feel as though he were walking through sand. He took only 128 shots, including an 8-under-par 62 in the second round to set the course record at Bellerive. He hit 24 consecutive fairways, a streak that ended in the twilight on the 18th hole as focus wavered.

Above all, he gave himself a chance to win.

"My goal was to get myself into position to win the golf tournament," Furyk said. "And I did that."

The best part of this long day was that he finished, shooting 66 in the afternoon to complete 54 holes at 12-under 198 for the clubhouse lead. Camilo Villegas, who led by one shot after 36 holes with a 66 in the morning, also was at 12 under but had five holes left.

Villegas will be among 23 players who have to return this morning to complete the third round in a tournament twice interrupted by weather. Rain kept the BMW Championship from starting until Friday, and the plan for everyone to play 36 holes yesterday was disrupted by a 90-minute fog delay in the morning.

Furyk hit 24 consecutive fairways off the tee until he started to tire at the end of a long day and found the rough on the 18th hole. He could not advance it to the green, came up short with a wedge, and was thrilled to sink a tricky 5-footer for bogey.

"I'm tired," Furyk said. "I like the idea of getting some sleep."

Villegas is keen to get his first PGA Tour victory to accompany his marketing appeal, and this is the second straight week he'll have that opportunity. At the Deutsche Bank Championship, he was one shot out of the lead going into the final round until Vijay Singh closed with a 63 to win by five shots.

The 26-year-old Colombian turned potential trouble into determination. Sailing along in the morning, Villegas four-putted for double bogey on the ninth hole - the final three putts were inside 4 feet - and he was steaming when he left the green.

But the answer was swift - two straight birdies - and Villegas added one more from 12 feet on the 18th hole to take the lead into the third round.

"I'm feeling good," Villegas said. "I'm enjoying playing golf right now. I'm playing pretty good. I'm rolling in some great putts, and I'm excited about tomorrow."

Brian Gay was 10 under with three holes to play. Anthony Kim, already a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year, was at 9 under with one hole to play.

Right behind at 8-under 202 was a group that included K.J. Choi and D.J. Trahan, who was passed over as a Ryder Cup pick last week, his final-round 80 at the TPC Boston not helping his cause.

Ladies European - Annika Sorenstam shot a 5-under 68 to trail Melissa Reid by six shots after the second round of the Nykredit Masters in Helsingoer, Denmark.

Reid, a rookie from England, eagled the last two holes for a 66. Sorenstam, in her final tournament in Europe, shared second place with Martina Eberl of Germany (73).

Reid, who finished runner-up twice on the Ladies European Tour this year, totaled 13-under 133 in the 54-hole tournament.

Sorenstam finished with consecutive birdies, and eagled the long 12th, her third hole.

"I got off to a great start," Sorenstam said. "I eagled my third hole and almost made a hole-in-one on my fifth. I played very, very well. I hit the last nine greens."

The 37-year-old Hall of Famer is counting on a strong finish today.

"I've come from 10 behind, so I know everything is possible," Sorenstam said.

European - Teenager Rory McIlroy shot a 5-under 66 to take a four-stroke lead after the third round of the European Masters in Crans-Sur-Sierre, Switzerland.

The 19-year-old player from Northern Ireland had a 54-hole total of 13-under 200 to lead a group of six players bunched at 204. That group included Robert Dinwiddie, who shot the low round of 64.

"I was a little nervous because I had never set off in the last group before, but that calmed my nerves," said McIlroy, chasing his first European Tour title.

US Women's Mid-Amateur - Kathy Hartwiger shot a 2-under 70 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of stroke-play qualifying in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The 42-year-old Hartwiger, the 2002 winner from Birmingham, Ala., had five birdies and three bogeys. She was penalized a stroke after her ball moved on the 16th green.

Virginia Grimes, the 1998 winner from Meridian, Miss., opened with a 71.

US Mid-Amateur - Two-time champion Tim Jackson shot a 5-under 65 at Milwaukee Country Club to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of stroke-play qualifying.

The 49-year-old Jackson, the 1994 and 2001 winner from Germantown, Tenn., had seven birdies and two bogeys.

Scott Fawcett, 35, of Dallas shot a 66, also at Milwaukee Country Club. Tim Mickelson of San Diego, the younger brother of Tour star Phil Mickelson, shot a 69 at Brown Deer.

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