Verplank Has Lead at a Special Course
Scott Verplank enjoys his annual trip to New Orleans regardless of how he plays, because it gives him a chance to reminisce about a dear, departed friend.
After shooting a nine-under-par 63 Friday in the second round of the HP Classic, this year’s visit has a chance to be extra special for Verplank.
His 16-under 128 gave him a three-stroke lead and a 36-hole tournament record as the par-72, 7,116-yard course continued to yield low scores.
Brian Gay and Todd Barranger, players who have rarely made a cut this season, were tied for second. Davis Love III and first-round co-leader Akio Sadakata were among five players another stroke back.
Tommy Moore, Verplank’s teammate at Oklahoma State, was the golf instructor at English Turn, the course where this tournament is played, before he died of a rare blood disorder in 1998. Moore, who played on the PGA Tour from 1990 to ’94, was 35.
Verplank said he had dinner with Tracy Moore, his widow, on Thursday night.
“Yeah, winning here would be extra cool because his widow is here and their son, and his mom and dad still live here,” said Verplank, who was two years behind Moore in school. “He was kind of my guide through college, and we were roommates and good buddies. He had a pretty big influence on me.”
Lorena Ochoa has been a model of consistency at the Michelob Light Open, playing 36 holes without a bogey. Grace Park’s two rounds have included 11 birdies, four bogeys, and an eagle followed immediately by a double bogey.
They ended up in the same place Friday, as co-leaders at seven-under 135 at Williamsburg, Va.
They lead by one stroke over Suzann Pettersen, who bogeyed two of her final three holes to give up the lead, and Akiko Fukushima, who birdied two of her final three holes.
Annika Sorenstam shot a 70 and is tied for seventh, three strokes off the lead.
Hale Irwin shot a seven-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead over Larry Ziegler and Bruce Fleisher in the first round of the Bruno’s Memorial Classic at Hoover, Ala.
Irwin recorded five birdies on the final nine holes and didn’t have a bogey on the opening day of the Champions Tour event on the 6,992-yard, par-72 Founder’s Course at the Greystone Golf Club. Tom Jenkins and Morris Hatalsky were two strokes off the pace at 67.
Jack Nicklaus birdied three of the four holes he played in the weather-delayed second round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am at the Cliffs on the Nationwide Tour at Travelers Rest, S.C.
Nicklaus, in the field with his four sons, was three under, six shots behind leaders Tripp Isenhour and Rick Price, and tied for 34th, well within the top 60 and ties that will make the cut.
The oldest Nicklaus continued as the leader of the family.
Youngest son Michael, 29, was one over through two holes; Gary, 34, was two over through four; and oldest child Jackie, 41, was three over through two. Steve, 40, played as his father’s amateur partner.