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Sean OHair Jim Furyk lead Deutsche Bank Championship

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DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. – Sean O’Hair hasn’t made many birdies lately. He saw more than his share Saturday in another day of low scoring at the Deutsche Bank Championship, and some of them were even his own.

O’Hair was 8-under par in an eight-hole stretch in the middle of his round, sending him to a 7-under 64 and a share of the lead with Jim Furyk after 36 holes on the TPC Boston.

O’Hair and Furyk, who made six birdies in his round of 67, played in the same group with Retief Goosen, who had a 67 and wound up two shots behind. The threesome combined to make 17 birdies and one eagle.

“It can either help your or it can really hurt you,” O’Hair said of watching his partners keep making putts. “If you get impatient out there, it can be a detriment. But with the attitude I had out there the last couple of days, it was nice.”

No one needed to make birdies quite like Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods at Deutsche Bank Championship
Tiger Woods turned things around on his back nine Saturday, making four birdies at the TPC Boston. (Getty Images)

He was on the cut line when he made the turn and was desperate to secure a tee time for Sunday and make up as much ground as he could. After an unlikely par save from a buried lie in the bunker, Woods gave himself seven consecutive birdie putts inside 12 feet. He made four of them for a 67, although he still was seven shots behind.

O’Hair and Furyk were at 12-under 130, two shots clear of Goosen and Marc Leishman, who had a tournament-low 62. Nearly half the field of 99 players shot in the 60s.

Scott Verplank made an eagle for the second straight day on his way to a 68, leaving him a group of players at 9-under 133 that included Justin Leonard, Mike Weir, Kevin Sutherland and John Senden, who recorded the rarest shot in golf.

Senden made a double eagle on the par-5 second hole, holing out from 250 yards with a 4-iron. He shot a 64.

“It looked like it was just going to roll to the back of the green or just over the back,” Senden said. “And then when the I saw the cheers go up, I knew it was in the hole, so it was exciting.”

Most of the excitement came in the morning, however, as O’Hair, Furyk and Goosen lit up the scoreboard in pristine conditions. The best viewing belonged to Geoff Ogilvy in the group behind them.

“When you’re watching the group ahead of you throwing birdie after birdie, you know you have to keep making them,” said Ogilvy, who managed a 68 and was in the large group at 8-under 134.

Furyk, winless in more than two years, went 25 consecutive holes without missing a green until he found a fairway bunker on No. 15 that led to bogey. Even so, he was steady as ever and feeling better about his chance of ending his drought. He has never gone two consecutive seasons without winning since he joined the PGA Tour.

“I didn’t expect to go out there and hit 13 fairways and 18 greens today,” he said. “I hit a few bad shots, got loose once in a while, but was able to score well all day.”

Everyone in his group did that. They were a combined 34-under par after two rounds.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever played in a group where all three guys played so well,” Furyk said. “We saw a lot of good golf and a lot of good golf shots, and obviously I saw some putts go in. We all made our share of putts.”

There were only five holes where no one made birdie.

Steve Stricker shared the 18-hole lead with Furyk and appeared to be on his way toward catching him with consecutive birdies as he was approaching the turn. That changed with one bad tee shot and several missed putts inside 6 feet.

Woods, meanwhile, didn’t need a leaderboard to realize he was hovering around the cut at 1 under.

“I saw a lot of media guys out there, so I thought I’d better turn this thing around and make them go away,” he said.

It started with pars – a 12-footer at No. 9, a tricky 5-footer on the 10th and a superb save from the plugged lie in the face of a bunker at No. 11, followed by a 20-foot putt. From there, Woods hit everything inside 12 feet and made some, although he was increasing frustrated by missed birdie chances of 7 feet at No. 13, 10 feet at No. 15 and 10 feet at no. 17.

“They haven’t been lipping in, they’ve been lipping out,” Woods said. “That’s about par for the course right now.”

He was at 5-under 137 needing a low round Sunday to get back into the mix for the Labor Day finishes. And as the first two days have shown, low scores certainly are out there.

Woods attributed so many missed chances at Liberty National on putts that often broke multiple times before reaching the hole. He worked some on his short game during his three days at home, no more than usual.

“I really putted well on the weekend, I just didn’t make a lot of putts,” he said. “When you’re lipping out a lot of putts, you’re not putting poorly. Those greens were a tough read for a bunch of people.”

Woods has a hard time finding much fault with anything this year, except for not winning a major. His five victories are twice as much as anyone else, and he still holds the No. 1 stop in the FedEx Cup standings going into the second week of the playoffs.

The big surprise is Heath Slocum, who was planning a trip to Switzerland this week for the Omega Masters on the European Tour until he won last week at Liberty National. That moved him from second-to-last place at No. 124 to No. 3, right behind Woods and Stricker.

Players have been debating whether Slocum earned too many points, and they tried to balance his rocket rise with the notion that he did beat a field at The Barclays that included the top 124 players on the PGA Tour.

The top 100 qualified for the Deutsche Bank (minus Paul Casey, who is injured), and that number will be pared to the top 70 players in points going to the third round next week at the BMW Championship outside Chicago.

Woods is virtually a lock to at least contest for the $10 million prize that comes with the FedEx Cup, especially the way he has played over the last two months—two victories, two runner-up finishes.

“This last stretch, I think I’ve hit the ball pretty good,” Woods said. “I’ve putted well in stretches. Some people have alluded to other things, but that’s not too bad for my last four events. The overall year has been very consistent.”

He missed the FedEx Cup playoffs last year recovering from knee surgery. The last time he played the Deutsche Bank was in 2007, when he tied for second, four shots behind Phil Mickelson. Woods took nine more putts than Mickelson that day.

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