Trio Tied on Top in Greensboro

By Associated PressAugust 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
Wydham ChampionshipGREENSBORO, N.C. -- For the second straight day, Jeff Overton needed only to make a short putt on his final hole to hold a lead for the first time in his short career.
This time, he succeeded.
Overton closed his 5-under 67 on Friday with consecutive birdies to move to 12-under 132 and share the lead with Steve Marino (67) and veteran John Huston (66) after the second round of the low-scoring Wyndham Championship.
Anders Hansen (64), Tim Petrovic (65), Craig Kanada (65), Carl Pettersson (67) and Greg Kraft (67) were one stroke back. Steve Wheatcroft (66) and Nathan Green (66) were two strokes behind the leaders.
Overton's strong finish came a day after his late charge within one stroke of first-round leader Will MacKenzie. Overton then missed the chance to match him when his 4-foot birdie putt on No. 18 was bumped offline by a ball mark.
'You hit good putts, and sometimes they just don't go in. You've got to be patient and continue to hit it close,' Overton said. 'I've missed all kinds of putts this week ... (but) you can't make them all.'
Marino, who started on the back nine, joined Overton atop the leaderboard with a birdie on the par-4 No. 6, placing his approach shot about 5 feet from the hole to set up his birdie putt and then closing his round with three straight pars.
'Going into it, you know it's a golf course where if you're hitting the ball well, you're going to have a lot of looks at birdies,' Marino said.
Huston had his second straight 66, opening his round with eight straight pars and finishing it with birdies on four of seven holes from Nos. 12-17, closing that run on the par-3 17th by landing his tee shot 10 feet from the flagstick and holing out.
'I'm happy with the way I've driven the ball, hitting a lot of greens and giving myself chances -- that way it doesn't put that much pressure on my putting,' Huston said.
It was another hazy, humid, low-scoring day with temperatures in the mid-90s at Forest Oaks Country Club. An early weather delay of 2 hours, 3 minutes had little effect on the scores, which remained low -- as has become customary at this event.
Still, the 36-hole cut of 5-under was the lowest on the tour this year and the lowest since the tournament moved to Forest Oaks 30 years ago.
'A 62 is definitely out there -- not just for me, but for anybody,' Marino said, referring to the course record. 'The course is lending itself to low scores and a lot of birdies.'
Hansen had the best round of the day, offsetting his lone bogey with nine birdies. Kanada had seven birdies in his bogey-free round, Kraft had five birdies to highlight a 67 and Pettersson -- who went to high school in Greensboro and is a member of the tournament's board -- made the cut on his hometown course with ease, one year after missing it by one stroke.
'This is a good golf course, and I just haven't played that great on it before,' Pettersson said.
Several borderline players came to central North Carolina for one last chance to qualify for the FedEx Cup, the first-year four-week playoff chase that begins next week at The Barclays in Harrison, N.Y., where the top 144 on the points list will be eligible.
Among those on the bubble who made it to the weekend were No. 140 Michael Putnam (9 under), No. 141 Bob Tway (8 under) and No. 145 Eric Axley (6 under). Those who didn't include No. 138 Jeff Gove (2 under), No. 143 Glen Day (1 under) and No. 144 Marco Dawson (3 under).
No. 146 Steve Lowery (4 under) insisted the pressure to reach the postseason had no effect on his round.
'All you can do is go out and play the best you can do and finish good,' Lowery said.
If Overton keeps this up, he could wind up playing himself into the playoffs after entering the weekend at No. 165 with 1,111 points.
He started the second round on the back nine and offset his lone bogey with birdies on four of his first nine holes. He had seven straight pars before finishing the round with birdies on the par-3 eighth and par-5 ninth.
His putt for eagle on No. 9 fell about 14 inches short, and he putted in for birdie to move into first and position himself to make a run at his best finish.
'That's my goal for the week -- to be really solid and make putts, and make all those putts inside 10 feet,' Overton said.
One day after his opening-round 64, MacKenzie (71) joined 10 other players three strokes behind the leaders.
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