Clark Leads Furyk Two Back at Colonial

By Associated PressMay 26, 2007, 4:00 pm
Crowne Plaza Invitational at ColonialFORT WORTH, Texas -- After the rain, everybody left at the Colonial was under par.
The waterlogged second round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational was completed Saturday afternoon, when 24 players finally managed to finish. They ran out of daylight the day before and then had the scheduled resumption delayed another 5 1/2 hours by more rain.
Tim Clark had the 36-hole lead at 11-under 129 after a bogey-free 6-under 64. He didn't miss a fairway or a green while finishing his second round Friday, after playing the back nine of his rain-delayed opening round. Clark led Arron Oberholser (66) by a stroke.
For the first time in tournament history, the 36-hole cut was under par. Only twice in 61 events had it been even-par -- in 1987 and 1997. There were 70 players who made the cut at 1-under 139.
Record-low scoring was set up by rain since Thursday that softened usually firm and fast Hogan's Alley, a traditional tree-lined layout that covers 7,054 yards.
The first-round scoring average of 69.342 was the lowest at the Colonial in the 25 years since the PGA Tour starting keeping such statistics. There were 63 rounds under par in the first round, and 64 more in the second, when the scoring average was 69.096.
'The golf course is just not playing itself right now,' said Jim Furyk, who at No. 3 in the world ranking is the only player among the top 12 at Colonial.
Furyk (66) was tied with Ben Curtis (67) and Nathan Green (66) at 9-under 131, with Alex Cejka (65), Kevin Na (69) and first-round leader Anthony Kim (69) at 8-under.
The top eight players all finished their second rounds Friday, but they weren't scheduled to start their third rounds until after 5 p.m. local time Saturday.
The late start ensured they wouldn't finish before dark and would have to return early on Sunday, when there was more rain in the forecast.
When play was suspended Friday because of darkness, there were 27 players still on the course. Rich Beem (3-over with one hole left), Todd Hamilton (9-over with one hole left) and Rod Curl (20-over with five holes left) withdrew with no chance to make the cut.
Kenny Perry, the two-time Colonial champion with record 19-under scores in 2003 and 2005, missed the cut at 2-over 142. It was only the second time in his last 17 Colonial appearances that he played only 36 holes before going home.
Defending champion Tim Herron, who hadn't won on the PGA TOUR since 1999 before last year's Colonial, made the cut at 5-under. He ended his second-round 68 Friday with three straight birdies.
Clark has been bothered by muscular and joint stiffness in his neck on and off since last summer. He didn't even notice it during his long day on the course Friday -- thanks to anti-inflammatory medicine along with 11 birdies and one bogey in his 27 holes.
After shooting under 70 only once in his first 20 rounds this season, Clark finished two sub-70 rounds in one day.
'It's nice to see the golf game has not completely left me compared to the limited amount of practice I have been able to do,' Clark said. 'I certainly wasn't expecting it.'
Oberholser, who has overcome back problems that kept him from defending his only tour victory at Pebble Beach in February, had six birdies and two bogeys after an opening 64 that included five birdies in an eight-hole stretch.
Maybe K.J. Choi should have waited to finish No. 18. When play was suspended Friday, players had the option of completing their current holes. Choi hit his drive way right, then went into the water and butchered his way to a quadruple-bogey eight for a round of 70. ... Curl is the 1974 Colonial champion who is invited to play as a former winner. Since winning his title, Curl has made the cut only six times in 29 tries. The last was 1989.
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