Originally created 09/09/01

Golf capsules

MONTREAL - For those who wondered why Scott Verplank was a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup team, he might have an answer in the Canadian Open.

Verplank, the first Ryder Cup rookie to make the team as a wild card, emerged from a pack of players who battled hot swirling winds at Royal Montreal to post a 4-under-par 66 for a one-stroke lead Saturday.

"I did a nice job of getting out of the round what the course would give you," said Verplank, who was at 11-under 199, the lowest 54-hole score ever at Royal Montreal.

Dicky Pride bounced his approach off the bleachers on the 18th and made bogey for a 69. He was one stroke behind along with Paul Gow (66), trying to become the first Australian to win at Royal Montreal since Jim Ferrier in 1950.

Ferrier was also the last man to repeat as Canadian Open champion, something Tiger Woods can't do anything about.

Woods stumbled at the start and never got on track. He finished with a 69 and was nine strokes out of the lead.

Bob Estes had his seventh straight round in the 60s, a 3-under 67 and was at 201. Another stroke back was Sergio Garcia and Sam Randolph, the 1985 U.S. Amateur champion who got in as the 22nd alternate.

A dozen players were within five strokes of the lead, which should lead to a shootout on the suburban island of Ile Bizard. Among them is John Daly, who had a 64.

SENIORS: Jim Thorpe, coming off his first victory of the season, capped a 6-under-par 65 with an 18-foot birdie putt Saturday and held a one-shot lead after two rounds of the inaugural Allianz Championship in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Thorpe's closing birdie got him to 9-under 133, one shot ahead of Tom Kite and Isao Aoki, who also shot a 65, his lowest round of the year.

Kite had fought his way to the top of the leaderboard, but his approach came up short at 18. A sand wedge to the green then spun back to 15 feet and he missed the par-saver.

Thorpe, meanwhile, hit a 6-iron within 18 feet and made the breaking downhill putt for the two-shot swing.

LPGA: Donna Andrews was scoring so well Saturday, she figured everyone else must be doing the same thing in the tamed breezes at the Tulsa (Okla.) Country Club.

But no one came close to Andrews' record performance in the second round of the inaugural Williams Championship.

She set a course record with a career-best 8-under-par 62 that included a self-imposed penalty stroke on the final hole and took a four-stroke lead heading into Sunday's final round.

She took the one-stroke penalty on the final hole after telling officials that she double-hit her final putt.

"I had to go with my gut instinct even though TV was inclusive. I felt like I hit the ball twice," she said. "Unfortunately 61 sounds a lot better, but I probably wouldn't have slept very well."

Her closest challengers, Rachel Teske, Rosie Jones and Wendy Ward, were at 136. Jones shot a 65 Saturday, while Ward had a 66 and Teske a 67.

EUROPEAN MASTERS: Ricardo Gonzalez continued to dominate the European Masters in Crans-Sur-Sierre, Switzerland, recording a spectacular eagle and three birdies Saturday to increase his lead to two strokes.

The 31-year-old Argentine, seeking his first European PGA tour title, braved stiff winds and cold to record for 3-under-par 68. That gave him a total of 200, 13 under for 54 holes on the 6,846-yard mountain course.

His closest pursuer, New Zealand's Stephen Scahill, was 11 under after carding a 68.


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