Overton holds 36-hole lead in NY


Turning Stone Resort ChampionshipVERONA, N.Y. ' With the PGA season winding down, Jeff Overton thinks a lot about securing a full exemption for next year. Still, that takes a back seat to simply winning.
Youve just got to approach every tournament as a new week, have a passion to try to win every single tournament, Overton said Friday after shooting a 3-under 69 to gain a one-shot lead over Tag Ridings (68) at the Turning Stone Resort Championship.
The former Big Ten player of the year at Indiana, in his third season on the PGA Tour and seeking that elusive first victory, is halfway there at 8-under 136 after the blustery second round.
Overton wasnt derailed Friday by two weather delays totaling nearly an hour and a half that prevented the entire field from finishing before darkness fell, and his lead was safe.
Steve Allan was among the 23 players who finished the round on Saturday morning, and he bogeyed his final hole in a light drizzle. It was his fifth bogey of the round and dropped him to 2 under.
Alone in third at 6 under was Australian rookie Jason Day (69), one shot ahead of Robert Allenby (68), Mark Hensby (69) and Charles Howell III (68). Rookies Dustin Johnson (68) and Kyle Thompson (69), Brad Elder (69), and Brian Davis (69) were tied for seventh at 4 under.
The top 125 players on the money list at the end of the season will retain fully exempt status to play on the PGA Tour in 2009. With just over $142,000 in earnings this year, Overton is at No. 142, and the Turning Stone winner takes home more than $1 million.
Overton, who began the second round with a one-shot lead, had held or shared the lead after the opening round only one other time, at the 2007 Reno-Tahoe Open, and finished tied for 37th.
He showed no signs of faltering here, even in some of the roughest weather on tour this year.
It reminded me of playing college golf, Overton said. I can remember playing at Ohio State a few years back the golf tournament got snowed out. Ive had quite a lot of experience playing in these kinds of conditions.
Overton reached all 18 in greens in regulation and if he hadnt struggled with his putter'needing 34 putts to complete the round'he would have made it that much more difficult for his rivals to catch him.
After bogeying his first hole, Overton birdied Nos. 4, 8, 9. He reached 8 under after hitting 5-iron to 20 feet at the par-5 12th hole, and waiting for the wind to die down, two-putted for birdie.
The weather Friday was in the mid-40s at the start of play, the wind blowing at 10-15 miles per hour with an intermittent rain dampening the 7,482-yard Atunyote Golf Club course.
The sun was shining coming up to 16, but I think the temperature dropped 15 degrees, Johnson said. Youve just got to go with it.
In late morning a front moved through, unleashing a brief torrent of hail that halted play for 16 minutes.
It was actually kind of nice, said Johnson, who was on the green at No. 18 when play was suspended. I got to go inside and warm up. It didnt help, though. I missed the putt.
Day wasnt fazed. Just before the hail began falling, he made a hole-in-one, his first ace on the PGA Tour, at the par-3 sixth hole to reach 5 under.
I never played in hail before. I guess theres a first time for everything, said the 20-year-old Day, who hit 6-iron off the tee of the 180-yard hole and watched the ball hit the green and bounce back in the cup. But I kept the momentum going.
While Day was celebrating, playing partner Michael Allen (74) was moping after making triple bogey at the hole after driving into a greenside bunker.
A half hour later, a rainstorm halted play again, this time for 71 minutes, which pushed afternoon tee times back more than an hour. The sun broke through in the afternoon for the second straight day, lifting the temperature into the mid-50s. But the wind also picked up.
Allan, tied for second to start the day, teed off just after 2 p.m. and made three bogeys on the first four holes of the back side to derail his chances of moving up.
Ridings fared much better, making four birdies on the back side.
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