Golf roundup

Woods, Wilson lead way

Harrington in group one back

Mark Wilson knows the greens at Cog Hill well, one reason he’s tied for the lead midway through the BMW Championship. Mark Wilson knows the greens at Cog Hill well, one reason he’s tied for the lead midway through the BMW Championship. (Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press)
Associated Press / September 12, 2009

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Tiger Woods and Mark Wilson were in a tie for the lead yesterday at the BMW Championship, two players who have every reason to feel right at home at Cog Hill in Lemont, Ill.

One practices there all the time. The other seems to win there all the time.

Woods made two solid par saves from deep bunkers early in his round, ran off three straight birdies at the turn, and cashed in on enough good shots for a 4-under-par 67 to put him atop the leaderboard for the first time since the PGA Championship.

Woods is a four-time winner at Cog Hill, including his most recent appearance two years ago in the BMW Championship

Wilson, who birdied his final hole for a 5-under 66, moved to Chicago about five years ago and was looking for a place to practice when club president Frank Jemsek gave him carte blanche at Cog Hill. Wilson now spends most of his time on the public course in the Chicago suburbs.

Wilson and Woods were at 7-under 135, and will play as a twosome for the first time since their championship match in the 1992 US Junior Amateur in Milton, where the 16-year-old Woods rallied from 2 down to win on the 18th hole.

“We go back a long way,’’ Woods said.

This won’t be anywhere near that situation, not in stroke play, and certainly not halfway through a tournament in which two dozen players were separated by five shots.

Padraig Harrington was poised to join Wilson and Woods until his tee shot on the 18th hole sailed wide right and into a tree, sending the Irishman back to the tee. He did well to escape with bogey after making a 20-foot putt that gave him a 68.

Harrington was one shot behind, along with Rory Sabbatini (70), Bo Van Pelt (69), and Marc Leishman of Australia, who overcame a rugged start with four straight birdies and ended up with a 69.

LPGA - Sandra Gal’s eagle on the 18th hole gave her a one-shot lead after the first round of the P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship in Rogers.

Gal shot a 7-under 64, and her uphill putt from about 15 feet on the final hole moved her past Song-Hee Kim and into the lead. Kim is alone in second place.

Brittany Lang, Pat Hurst, and Angela Stanford are tied for third, another stroke back.

Gal played for the University of Florida and has never won an LPGA event. The 24-year-old German led the Women’s British Open this year after the first round, but shot an 80 in the second and finished tied for 33d.

Kim finished with back-to-back birdies to put herself momentarily in front of the field. Her first-round 65 came a week after a wildly inconsistent performance in Canada that landed her in a tie for 10th.

Cristie Kerr, the tour’s leading money winner, shot a 69, one shot ahead of Paula Creamer. Michelle Wie birdied the first three holes but had to settle for a 69.

European - Scott Strange shot a 4-under 68 and Chris Wood had a 69 to share a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Cologne, Germany.

Soren Hansen (71) had a one-shot lead until a double bogey on the 18th hole. Ross Fisher and James Kingston shot 69 to also trail the leaders by one stroke.

Former Pittsburgh Pirates World Series star Steve Blass made two holes-in-one in a span of 11 holes during the team’s annual alumni golf outing.

Blass’s first hole-in-one Thursday at Greensburg (Pa.) Country Club came with an 8-iron at the 154-yard, par-3 15th hole - because of the format, his fivesome started on the back nine. His second ace came with a 7-iron on the 175-yard, par-3 seventh hole.

Golf Digest estimates the odds against a golfer having two holes-in-one in the same round at 67 million to 1.