Leonard Extends FedEx Lead to Eight


MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Justin Leonard kept on rolling with a 4-under 66 on Saturday, stretching his lead to eight strokes at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Leonard, who is seeking his 10th career victory on the PGA Tour, finished at 17-under-par 193.
Heath Slocum used a 67 to move into second place at 9-under-par 201 while Tom Pernice, Jr. took third place at 8-under-par 202. Davis Love III, Fred Funk and Paul Goydos share fourth place at 7-under-par 203.
Justin Leonard
Justin Leonard rolls in a birdie putt that would eventually extend his lead to eight strokes at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Leonard was on fire during the first two rounds at the TPC at Southwind and the former British Open champion carried an imposing five-shot lead into the weekend. He picked up where he left off on Saturday with a birdie at the par-5 third and hit his tee shot within 16 feet of the hole for a birdie at the par-3 eighth.
The 32-year-old played his second shot to the back fringe at the par-4 ninth and two-putted for a par. Leonard then dropped his approach inside 12 feet at the par-4 10th, but was unable to convert the birdie try.
At the par-3 11th, Leonard landed his tee shot to the right of the hole and watched as his ball rolled within inches of the cup. He tapped in for a birdie and continued to run off pars on the back nine.
'The wind is so light here that it kind of changes a little bit here and there,' Leonard said of his shot on the 11th. 'When I hit it, the wind was into me a little bit.'
Leonard rolled in a 12-foot putt for a birdie at the par-5 16th and parred his two remaining holes to secure the largest 54-hole lead of the 2005 season on the PGA Tour.
'It is nice to have the lead, certainly a lead this big,' said Leonard, who hoisted the claret jug in 1997. 'I certainly am playing in a nice rhythm right now and playing with confidence.'
Slocum birdied each of his first two holes, but he gave a shot back with a bogey at the fourth. He countered with back-to-back birdies from the sixth to reach 9 under, but found trouble again with a bogey at the eighth.
The 31-year-old got back to minus-9 with a birdie at the 11th, but again he followed up with a bogey at the 12th. Slocum then sank a 10-foot birdie putt at the 16th finish alone in second place.
'It is hard to expect anything less than him playing a good solid round,' Slocum said of the prospects of catching Leonard on Sunday. 'All I can do tomorrow is go out and play the golf course the only way I can play it. I am not going to change strategy or anything. Hopefully I will hit it well enough tomorrow to give myself some chances.'
Pernice had two birdies and a bogey over his first nine holes. A birdie at the 11th lifted him to 8 under and he ran home a long birdie putt at the par-3 14th to move to minus-9. Pernice stumbled down the stretch with a bogey at the 17th, however, and parred the last for a round of 68.
Defending champion David Toms, who had a seven-shot lead heading into the final round of this event last year, fired a 65 to move into a tie for seventh place. He was joined by Fredrik Jacobson, Bob Estes, Richard S. Johnson and Phillip Price at 6-under-par 204.
Billy Andrade, Roland Thatcher and Mathias Gronberg finished knotted at 5- under-par 205.
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