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Campbell Charges to Lead

HOUSTON -- Chad Campbell, who finished as the runner-up to Shaun Micheel at this year's PGA Championship, established a new course record Saturday when he fired a 10-under 61 to take the lead at the Tour Championship. Campbell stands at 13-under-par 200 and owns a one-shot lead over Charles Howell III, the first and second-round leader.
Campbell broke Jim Furyk's 2001 record of 62 on Saturday and the round of 61 was Campbell's lowest by two strokes. He fired a 63 in the third round of the Chrysler Classic of Tucson, one of three events including the PGA Championship where Campbell finished second this season.
'Well it was a good day, obviously,' stated Campbell, whose 61 was the lowest score in Tour Championship history. 'I chipped in today and made a long putt. Stuff like that just tells you that it is your day.'
Retief Goosen, the 2001 U.S. Open winner, shot a 4-under 67 and is tied for third place with Chris Riley, who posted a 5-under 66. That pair is knotted at 10-under-par 203.
Tiger Woods will need a miracle if he is to win his fifth consecutive money title. He had to win the Tour Championship at Champions Golf Club and Vijay Singh, the leader in the money race had come in worse than a tie for third place.
Woods never got anything going on Saturday, as he mixed two birdies and two bogeys for an even-par 71. He is at 2 under par for the championship and tied for 15th.
Singh, on the other hand, tallied five birdies and only one bogey to shoot a round of 4-under-par 67. Singh is alone in ninth place at 5-under-par 208.
Also at stake this week has been the Player of the Year race, which is voted on by the players. Woods and Singh are the front runners but with neither looking in great shape to visit the winner's circle Sunday, it will come down to what the players thought before this week.
'It's in the voting hands now. It comes down to what they believe is a better year,' said Woods. 'If Vijay would have won the tournament, or still can, if he would win the tournament, he would lock it up. And if I would win it, it would be locked up. So it was all in our hands at the beginning of the week.'
'I'm in great position unless something odd happens,' said Singh, referring to the money title. 'I think I've secured it. That wasn't my concern coming over here. I wanted to play well in this tournament and I'm playing well.'
But no one in the field played better than Campbell on Saturday. He was 2 under par on his round after a bogey at No. 8 but he turned things around very quickly. Campbell drained a 20-footer for eagle at the par-5 ninth, then went on a birdie tear on the second nine.
Campbell missed the green at the 10th but chipped in for birdie. He sank a 10- footer for birdie at 11, then ran home a 55-footer for birdie at the par-3 12th. Campbell hit a poor drive at the par-5 13th but laid up and wedged his third to four feet to set up his fourth consecutive birdie and fly past Howell into first.
Campbell parred the 14th but returned to his birdieing ways. He holed a 10-foot birdie putt at the 15th and made another birdie at the par-3 16th to reach 10 under with two holes to play.
Time to start thinking about 59?
'I never really knew exactly how many under I was,' admitted Campbell. 'I knew I was playing good, but it doesn't really matter. I knew I had a lot of ground to make up at the start of the day. That's the outlook I was taking.'
Campbell had looks at birdie on the final two holes but neither found the cup. Instead Campbell gets the third-round lead for the first time since the PGA Championship, when Micheel upstaged him in the final round. It could be win No. 1 for Campbell, whom many of his fellow players say is the next big thing in golf.
'I'm really not picky where my first win would come,' said Campbell. 'It would be extra special winning it here in Texas. I've always loved coming to Houston and playing all their golf courses.'
Howell made three birdies on the front nine to stay ahead of the field but got caught in Campbell's wave. Howell found the fairway at the 10th but pulled a 6-iron that hit a tree and landed in the rough. He chipped to 12 feet but missed the par putt.
Howell came back on the back nine. He sank an eight-footer for birdie at the 15th and added another at No. 17 to get within one shot of Campbell.
Jonathan Kaye (68) and Davis Love III (67) share seventh at 6-under-par 207, followed by Singh in ninth.
Furyk, the U.S. Open winner and Darren Clarke each shot rounds of 4-under 67 and tied Chris DiMarco, who carded an even-par 71 on Saturday, in 10th. The trio stands at minus-4.
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