Originally created 05/07/00

Green heads jammed leaderboard



CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hubert Green has seen better starts. It would be hard for him to envision any better finishes.

Green set the Home Depot Invitational record with a 9-under 63 Saturday, charging from back in the pack to take a two-shot lead over defending champion Bruce Fleisher.

Green admitted he was frustrated early in the round when his first approach shot of the day got stuck on a ledge and didn't trickle down to the hole. He then hit a drive into some rocks on No. 2.

His demeanor got worse when playing partner Allen Doyle carded a double-eagle out of the rough.

"You know, I was thinking, `Why me?"' Green said. "This guy is over here chopping out of the grass and he makes a 2, and I'm over here probably going to make a 6."

But there would be no bogey for Green, just a 7-iron chip out, and a marvelous 5-iron shot within 3 feet for a birdie that helped spark his super round.

"I went from the outhouse to the White House real quick out there," Green said. "You have to keep on trucking."

Green took advantage of ideal conditions and true greens on the TPC Piper Glen course, carding 10 birdies and one bogey to break the record of 64 set by J.C. Snead in the final round in 1993.

However, Green's far from confident heading into Sunday's final round.

"The golfing gods can turn the spigot off as fast as they can turn it on," Green said. "And they know where the off button is, I promise you."

The 53-year-old Green, who won two majors on the PGA Tour, had an 11-under 133 total to break the tournament's 36-hole mark of 134 set by Bob Murphy in '95 and matched by DeWitt Weaver in '97.

"I saw him creeping up, but I didn't realize he was 11-under until about No. 16," Fleisher said. "I thought maybe he cheated or skipped a couple of holes."

The 63 wasn't Green's best round of the season. He had a tour-low 62 in the final round of the Audi Senior Classic in mid-March for his first victory of the year.

Green hit 16 of 18 greens and 12 of 14 fairways to also tie the course record of 63 set by Lee Trevino in the 1994 pro-am.

Fleisher, the tour's leading money winner, started the day at 5 under and one shot off the lead. But he struggled on the front side before closing strong for a 68.

"I think everybody likes to be out front, however it is probably a little easier sleeping when you're not," Fleisher. "When you get four of five shots behind that's hard to catch a player like Hubert, but two shots, whoever gets out of the box quickly and gets a little momentum will have the edge."

Spain's Jose Maria Canizares and first-round leader David Lundstrom were at 8-under 134. Canizares had a 66, while Lundstrom followed up his 66 with a 70, saving par on the final hole with a 30-footer.

Green started the day at 2 under and four shots behind Lundstrom, but birdied two of his first three holes and carded a 4-under 32 on the front side to move into contention.

The back nine played easier in Friday's first round, and Green quickly took advantage. He netted birdies on Nos. 10, 12 and 13 before going to 10 under with another birdie on No. 16.

He closed out his record-setting round with a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

Green, tied with Gil Morgan with the best scoring average (69.38) on tour, carded his 15th round in the 60s this season.

Doyle made the first double-eagle this year and 19th in the tour's history, holing a 3-wood shot from 204 yards on the par-5 second hole to move into contention at 6 under.

But Doyle parred out the front side and then dropped a shot at No. 10 and finished at 5 under and six shots back of Green after a 69.