Notes Lonard gets big laughs OHair-raising

By Associated PressAugust 1, 2008, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio ' Peter Lonard wandered out of the heat after shooting a 66 Friday and walked right into the interview hall of fame.
 
His session might have been one of the funniest in PGA TOUR history. It certainly wins the prize this week at the Bridgestone Invitational.
 
Heres a sampling of some of the Aussies best lines:
 
On how he hurt his back recently: I just woke up at Wachovia, went to the range ' actually past the range and went straight to the first tee (because I) wanted to hit off in front of Nathan Green because hes a really slow player.
 
Asked how he qualified for the Bridgestone (he won the Australian PGA ' which he called the fifth major ' for the third time): I dont know. Someone just phoned up and said, Youre in!
 
On how much shorter the rough at Firestone Country Club is this year rather than last: If it was like (it was last year) yesterday, I would have shot 100. (He shot a 69.)
 
On what he would do if he didnt play golf: I did try working once before and I didnt enjoy it very much.
 
How he decided where to go on vacation recently: Im just sitting in a bar with my mate and he said, You should go somewhere. I went, Ive been everywhere. Theres nowhere I havent been. He said, Theres got to be somewhere. I said, Well, Ive never been to Egypt! So I went to Egypt.
 
On his tour guide in Egypt: Im thinking Im going to sit back and look at a few pyramids and take a few photos and all of a sudden shes asking me, This is the fourth dynasty of who? It was like hanging out with your headmaster for a day at the age of 40. It was brutal.
 
On trying to impress her with his fame as a professional golfer: I said I played golf for a living. She just snickered and that was it, like, Idiot. '
 
On Tiger Woods not being in the Bridgestone field: To me, him not being here is probably the difference between 38th and 39th. So I dont miss him. But Im sure the boys up in the big-money end, they definitely notice a difference.
 
OHAIR-RAISING: After shooting a 67 Friday to tie for third two shots back of leader Vijay Singh at the Bridgestone, Sean OHair for the first time publicly revealed the details of his harrowing accident early last month near his home in West Chester, Pa.
 
I shifted maybe a little too quick, OHair said.
 
Making matters worse: a rainy road, inexperience with a stick shift, and (gulp) a new 5.4-liter, high-performance Ford Mustang Shelby GT.
 
I hit a pole probably going about 35 mph. It just jumped right out in front of me, OHair cracked.
 
He had chest pain after hitting the wooden power pole head on. X-rays showed he didnt have any fractures, although he did have some fluid buildup in his chest. He had to take three weeks off, then played poorly in the next three tournaments before tying for third last week at the Canadian Open.
 
The car wasnt totaled, but his wife Jackie said he had to get rid of it ' after hed had it just three days.
 
Now hes got a Cadillac Escalade. With an automatic transmission.
 
BUCKEYE CHALLENGE: Noted Wisconsin fan Steve Stricker, on who will win when Ohio State plays against the Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on Oct. 4: Badgers. By 3.
 
PAULS PACK: Three middle-aged guys followed Irelands Paul McGinley around throughout his first 36 holes at the Bridgestone Invitational. Each wore an oversized, white T-shirt. Niall Hopkins said Mc in letters 2 feet high, with Rich Sylvia sporting GIN and Oliver Kelly LEY.
 
The backs of their shirts, when they stood in a row, spelled out IRL representing Ireland ' their native land and that of their favorite player.
 
All three live in Cape Cod and met McGinley at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Whenever McGinley plays in the United States, they try to make the trip. They traipsed along with him at the PGA Championship last August in Tulsa, only then they had five guys who wore shirts spelling out GO McGINLEY. Now theyve had to get by with less.
 
The fewer guys the bigger the letters, Kelly said with a laugh.
 
Sylvia added, With more guys, though, its harder to keep them in line.
 
SOMETHING CLICKED: Stuart Appleby was slogging through his first nine holes at Firestone Country Club, fighting his swing and fighting his self-doubts.
 
It was a bit degrading, he said after having five bogeys and four pars. It was pretty ugly. I dreamt of getting to par.
 
Then suddenly, things turned around.
 
Over his last 27 holes, hes had 11 birdies and has completed rounds of 70 and 66 to climb into a tie for seventh at the Bridgestone at 4-under 136.
 
I didnt have the ball position right and I wasnt making a very good downswing, he said of what was wrong through his first nine holes. I decided to knuckle down. Its been a real good run.
 
Now Appleby believes hes ready to roll.
 
I feel confident, he said. This weekend is going to be more like this last 27 holes.
 
DIVOTS: Six players in the Bridgestone field must win to get into next weeks PGA Championship: McGinley, Brett Rumford, Richard Finch, Lucas Glover, Hidemasa Hoshino and Craig Parry. Jim Furyk foundered until holing out from 160 yards for eagle at the par-4 17th. Of the 80 players in the field, five have played in all 10 Bridgestones, and three are in the top 10 through 36 holes: Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood and Appleby. Chris DiMarco, who shot a 70, said he feels better than at any time since hurting his shoulder 2 1/2 years ago. Mickelsons only bogey in 36 holes came when he missed a 7-foot putt for par on his next-to-last hole. He then made a 19-footer to save par on his final hole.
 
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