Four Lead Tiger Stationed Just One Back

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2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill -- Billy Andrade was at the movies in Atlanta three days ago, the seventh alternate in the PGA Championship. Now he's in a four-way tie for the lead and starting to believe in fairy tales.
 
But this Hollywood script hasn't even begun to take shape at Medinah.
 
Andrade made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 3-under 69, grabbing a share of the lead with big-hitting Henrik Stenson of Sweden, short-hitting Luke Donald of England and super-sized Tim Herron going into what should be a wild weekend.
 
Luke Donald
Luke Donald will have plenty to think about as he heads into the weekend with a share of the lead at Medinah.
They were at 8-under 136, all of them in the lead for the first time in a major.
 
And their task got a little bit tougher in the final hour of a dark, gloomy afternoon outside Chicago.

Tiger Woods, scrambling for pars early before taking advantage of the par 5s, finished off his round of 68 with a 20-foot birdie putt that left him one shot behind, along with U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy and the resurgent Davis Love III.
 
'It's always interesting to see where Tiger is,' Herron said. 'He wasn't on the board most of the day. He must have done something on the last few holes.'
 
Phil Mickelson was all over Medinah, but escaped the rough on No. 18 with an approach that barely cleared a bunker and hopped onto the green to 15 feet for a birdie that gave him a 71 and put him at 4-under 140.
 
Andrade might be the most relaxed of the bunch, since he didn't even expect to be here and has never fared well in the majors. The last time he made the cut in a major was the 2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill -- as the seventh alternate, no less. And if he wasn't at Medinah, he'd be picking up the kids from school, cooking out and tackling a honey-do list.
 
'I'm 42 years old. I've been doing this for 19 years,' Andrade said. 'It's the PGA Championship. Why not me? Why not have fun with it and enjoy it? It's not like guys like me get in this position every single major. We have a hell of a leaderboard, and I'm looking forward to continuing to have a great time.'
 
Herron has a little more at stake, but the rumpled one doesn't get ruffled easily. He holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole for a 67 to move into the four-way tie, and treated it like a tap-in for par.
 
Donald, who won the NCAA title at Northwestern in 1999 and still has a home in the Chicago area, made it through a steady drizzle without a bogey and is helping to carry Europe's hopes of ending its 76-year drought at the PGA Championship. Joining him was Stenson, a stoic Swede who reached 9-under until hitting into the trees on No. 18 and finishing with a bogey.
 
No Swede has ever won a major -- at least a men's major.
 
'I really need to get going to catch Annika, huh?' he said, referring to the 10 LPGA majors won by Annika Sorenstam.

He'll have to play plenty hard to keep his nose in front.
 
The top 24 players were separated by four shots on a soft, vulnerable course that yielded another record day -- 61 players under par on Friday, beating the mark of 60 set the day before.
 
The cut was at even-par 144, matching the lowest in relation to par at a PGA Championship. It was even-par 142 at Riviera in 1995.
 
Still, Medinah has enough trees and water to punish mistakes, so no one was able to run away from the pack.
 
'There's a bunched leaderboard. You knew it was going to be that way with soft greens, and that's basically what it's turned out to be,' Woods said. 'You've got to go out there ... and make some birdies, and try not to give anything back.'
 
David Toms shot 67 to lead a group at 6-under 138 that included Billy Mayfair, who had surgery for testicular cancer only two weeks ago. Another shot back was a crowd that included Sergio Garcia and Mike Weir, who shared the 54-hole lead with Woods at Medinah seven years ago.
 
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