Saturday, May 3, 2003
Verplank vaults to lead after 63
Atop by 3 strokes with 16-under 128 at HP Classic
The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS - Scott Verplank enjoys his annual trip to New Orleans regardless of how he plays, because it gives him a chance to reminisce about a departed friend.
After shooting a 63 Friday in the second round of the HP Classic, this year's visit to English Turn has a chance to be special for Verplank.
His 16-under 128 gave him a three-stroke lead and a 36-hole tournament record as the par-72, 7,116-yard course continued to yield low scores.
Brian Gay and Todd Barranger, players who have rarely made a cut this season, were tied for second.
Davis Love III and first-round co-leader Akio Sadakata, who shot a front-nine 29 Thursday, were among five players another stroke back.
Tommy Moore, Verplank's teammate at Oklahoma State, was the golf instructor at English Turn before he died of a rare blood disorder in 1998 at age 35.
Moore played on the PGA Tour from 1990-94. Verplank said he had dinner with Tracy Moore, his widow, on Thursday night.
"Yeah, winning here would be extra cool because his widow is here and their son, and his mom and dad still live here," said Verplank, who was two years behind Moore in school. "He was kind of my guide through college, and we were roommates and good buddies. He had a big influence on me."
Verplank made nine birdies Friday, despite struggling with his accuracy off the tee.
"It was one of those days the hole kept getting in the way of my putts," said Verplank, who has four career wins - the last in 2001. "When you continually make 10-15-footers, it makes up for a lot of mess-ups."
While Verplank was cashing in with his putter, Love's kept letting him down. Love two-putted the final six holes, including a bogey on 18. He shot a 67.
"I hit the ball real well, and today I didn't make as many putts," said Love, who is looking for his fourth victory of the season. "I actually misread a couple of putts and didn't hit a couple very good on that second nine, but all in all I'm playing pretty good."
Most of his misses were from 8-15 feet and off by no more than a few inches. But if the tour's leading money winner was frustrated, it hardly showed. A slight head shake after his 8-footer on 17 failed to break left was as animated as the unflappable 39-year-old would get.
Gay had seven birdies and, like Love, dropped a shot with a bogey on 18 to finish his round. Though Gay's 18th could have been much worse.
He hooked his first shot into the water, then had a bad lie on his drop. He had to make a 14-foot putt just to make a 5 on the challenging 471-yard hole.
The 5-under cut was the second-lowest this season.
Phil Mickelson just made it, but local favorite and LSU alum David Toms (-3) and Masters runner-up Len Mattiace (-2) were not so fortunate.
"The par-5s are playing real short," said rookie Mark Wilson, who shot a 67 and is tied for fourth. "I'm not a long hitter at all and I hit a 5-iron into the island green par-5, so I can just imagine guys like Davis or Vijay (Singh) probably got an 8-iron on that green."
John Daly withdrew from the HP Classic on Friday after injuring his right wrist.
LPGA TOUR: Lorena Ochoa has been a model of consistency at the Michelob Light Open at Williamsburg, Va., playing 36 holes without a bogey. Grace Park's two rounds have included 11 birdies, four bogeys and an eagle followed immediately by a double-bogey.
They ended up in the same place Friday, as co-leaders with a 7-under par 135. They led by one stroke over Suzann Pettersen, who bogeyed two of her final three holes to give up the lead, and Akiko Fukushima, who birdied two of her final three holes.
Club pro Suzy Whaley, playing on a sponsor's exemption, finished 8-over and missed the cut. Like Annika Sorenstam, who will play against the men later this month at the Colonial, Whaley will play the PGA's Greater Hartford Open, after qualifying for that tournament by winning a sectional.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: Hale Irwin shot a 7-under 65 and held a one-stroke lead over Larry Ziegler and Bruce Fleisher in the first round of the Bruno's Memorial Classic at Hoover, Ala. Irwin had five birdies on the final nine holes on the 6,992-yard, par-72 Founder's Course at the Greystone Golf Club.
ITALIAN OPEN: Sweden's Fredrik Widmark shot a 7-under-par 65 to share the second-round lead at the $1.2 million tournament in Brescia.
Australia's Peter O'Malley, who defeated Tiger Woods in the first round of the 2002 Match Play Championship, bogeyed No. 18 for a 2-under 70 and was tied with Widmark at 10-under 134.
O'Malley had a first-round 64 that equaled the course record set by Bernhard Langer when the German won the tournament in 1997.
Rolf Muntz shot a 6-under 66 and was one shot back in third place.
Colin Montgomerie, playing in Europe for the first time this season, shot a 67 and was three shots behind the leaders.
HP Classic of New Orleans
At English Turn GCC; New Orleans
$5 million; Yardage: 7,116; Par 72
|Davis Love III||65-67-132|
|Tom Pernice Jr.||67-70-137|
|Michael Clark II||70-67-137|
|Charles Howell III||68-70-138|
Michelob Light Open
At Kingsmill River Course; Williamsburg, Va.
$1.6 million; Yardage: 6,285; Par: 71
|Se Ri Pak||69-69-138|
|Jung Yeon Lee||71-68-139|
|Yu Ping Lin||74-70-144|
Bruno's Memorial Classic
At Greystone GCC; Hoover, Ala.
$1.4 million; Yardage: 7,092; Par: 72
|Jose Maria Canizares||36-36-72|
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Frankel has inside track on Hollywood ending
Horse boasts history of a different tune
Kentucky Oaks: Tears fall freely for Zito
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Familiar faces are missing from Pig
8th-grade phenom packs 'em in at NCH
St. Dominic girls show all the rest how to take it to the hoop
Eustachy violated NCAA's extra-benefits rule
Eustachy saga becoming PR chess match
Coaches split on possible Eustachy firing
Detroit survives to force Game 7
Duncan wins second straight MVP
Stockton says he'll retire
Upstart Mighty Ducks looking to clinch series
ECHL: Cyclones even series
Crash leaves Nadeau in critical condition
NASCAR fans, drivers love Richmond 400
Verplank vaults to lead after 63
Nicklaus' family around for weekend
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