Toms Shares Top Spot at Travelers

By Associated PressJune 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
Travelers ChampionshipCROMWELL, Conn. -- David Toms shot a 5-under-par 65 Friday to move into a tie for the second-round lead at a blustery and rainy Travelers Championship.
Toms, who has had five top-10 finishes this year, shares the lead at 8 under with journeyman Jay Williamson, who fired a 66 for the second day in a row while playing in just his second PGA TOUR event of the year.
Toms, who started on the back nine, went to 9 under after an eagle on the par-4 second hole, pitching in his approach from 84 yards. But after a 21-minute rain delay, he bogeyed the seventh hole to fall back into the tie.
He said he failed to adjust to the slower greens after the rain.
'I missed puts at six, seven, eight and nine and they were all on the low side, not quite hard enough,' he said.
Williamson closed his round by making birdie on the 17th and the 18th holes while playing into a 25 mph wind, with gusts at more than 35 mph.
'Obviously I drove it well,' Williamson said. 'I mean, you cannot play a day like today out of the rough.'
Rain delayed play briefly for the second straight day.
Williamson, ranked seventh on the Nationwide Tour money list, would earn a PGA TOUR exemption with a win here. At 40, he said he constantly thinks about whether playing the game is still worthwhile.
'I've learned that there is one place to play golf for a living, and that is on this TOUR,' he said. 'I'd much rather go to Flint (the next PGA TOUR stop) than Peek n' Peak (the next Nationwide event).'
Playing Hartford on a sponsor's exemption, Williamson missed the cut in his other TOUR appearance this year at the Honda Classic in March.
Williamson, a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, used a little Yankee ingenuity along the way, too.
He began this day with a screw loose -- on his driver. He consulted a rules official on his second hole, who helped him out with a Swiss Army knife.
'Turned out we got it fixed and I was off to the races,' he said.
First-round leader Hunter Mahan followed up his 62, with a 1-over 71, dropping to 7 under.
Mahan lost the lead on the seventh hole, a 443-yarder straight into the teeth of the wind. His drive landed in a fairway bunker on the right and his approach dropped about 40 yards short of the green. Mahan's chip went by the hole about 9 feet and he missed the comeback for par, which dropped him to 7 under for the tournament.
'It's a bit gusty out there,' he said. 'It makes going after pins tougher, hard to get your distance better and just control is tough.'
Olin Browne, the 1998 champion here, finished at 3 under for the day and is two strokes off the lead. Browne, who also started on the back nine, bogeyed his first two holes on the day, but eagled his next two -- his first two eagles of the year.
He said his wedge approach on the 412-yard 12th hole got him going.
'Everyone is yelling, 'Go in,' and usually that one ends up two to three feet behind the hole, and you think, 'Man that was close.' But this one dropped.'
Former U.S. Open champ Corey Pavin also shot a 66, despite three-putting the 18th, to move into contention at 4-under par. Pavin, who has played in this tournament 14 other times, said the veterans such as he and Browne definitely have an advantage in knowing how to play this course on a windy day.
'I think you have to be patient, and I think patience comes with old people like us,' he said.
The course wasn't as kind to Masters champ Zach Johnson, who shot a 74 and will miss the cut. Vijay Singh shot a 71, and is 1 under for the tournament. That puts him in a tie for 34th place.
Defending champion J.J. Henry is also one of the 79 players to make it to the weekend, slipping in at the cut line of 1 over.
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