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Van Pelt shines in Woods’ absence
GRAND BLANC, Mich. » The PGA Tour's optimistic view of life without Tiger Woods is that it gives unheralded players a chance in the spotlight.
Bo Van Pelt is trying to take advantage.
Van Pelt shot a 6-under 66 yesterday at the Buick Open, making him a career-best 14-under 130 through 36 holes and the second-round leader by two shots.
Kaneohe's Dean Wilson and Honolulu's Parker McLachlin both missed the cut. Wilson shot a 2-over 74 to finish two strokes off the cut line while McLachlin shot 75 to finish the tournament 3 over.
Van Pelt missed out on his best chance to win for the first time in seven PGA Tour seasons at the Puerto Rico Open, where he led for three-plus rounds before losing by a stroke to first-time winner Greg Kraft.
"The more I put myself in that position, one of these Sundays is going to be my day," he said.
Daniel Chopra (67) and Dudley Hart (68) head into the weekend at 12 under, two shots behind Van Pelt.
Woody Austin (67) was another stroke back along with Matt Jones (63).
While some relative unknowns fill the leaderboard at a tournament expecting to feature Woods before he had season-ending knee surgery, the top players in a lackluster field are failing to dominate.
Jim Furyk (No. 12), Justin Leonard (No. 23) and Kenny Perry (No. 27) are the only players among the top 30 in the world at Warwick Hills, where just nine of the top 50 players in the world ranking are competing.
Perry (67) fared the best of the trio of standouts, trailing Van Pelt by six shots. Leonard (68) was nine strokes back, and Furyk was another shot behind after following up a solid first round with an even-par 72.
Rocco Mediate (69) made the cut at 4 under in his first tournament since pushing Woods for five-plus rounds in the U.S. Open before coming up just short in a dramatic matchup watched by millions.
"I got some sleep and I played a little bit better," Mediate said.
The Buick Open isn't generating a ton of interest without Woods at Warwick Hills or elsewhere, but Van Pelt is doing his best to make a name for himself with a bogey-free 36 holes after starting the week 108th on the money list.
With rain in the forecast, the groups will be threesomes instead of twosomes and will go off both tees in the hopes of completing the third round today.
Long putt gives Roberts lead
EAST MEADOW, N.Y. » Loren Roberts made a 45-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to cap a 6-under 65 and a one-stroke lead in the Commerce Bank Championship.
It was the second straight year Roberts held the first-round lead in the Champions Tour event on the Red Course at Eisenhower Park.
Gene Jones and Greg Hickman, who has caddied for Jones on the Champions Tour, had 66s to share second place.
Two atop French leaderboard
SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France » England's David Lynn holed a bunker shot for birdie on the final hole for a 6-under 65 and a share of the second-round lead in the French Open with Spanish qualifier Pablo Larrazabal.
Lynn and Larrazabal (70) had 7-under 135 totals on Le Golf National's Albatross Course. England's Lee Westwood (68), Scotland's Colin Montgomerie (68), Spain's Ignacio Garrido (69), Argentina's Angel Cabrera (70) and Ireland's Peter Lawrie (71) were tied for third.