Mon, May 12, 2003 - Page 20 News List

David Toms boosts lead in Wachovia Championship play

AP , CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

A chip-in for eagle and a brilliant fairway bunker shot enabled David Toms to pull away from the pack Saturday in the Wachovia Championship and take a big step toward his first victory in 20 months.

On a steamy, blustery afternoon at Quail Hollow, Toms matched the best score of the tournament with a 6-under 66 to build a five-stroke lead.

Tiger Woods is the only other player this year to lead by as many as five shots after 54 holes. He went on to win at Bay Hill by 11 strokes despite a nasty stomach virus. Toms left everyone else feeling sick. The former PGA champion was at 11-under 205 and had a big cushion over Kirk Triplett (67), Robert Gamez (71) and J.P. Hayes (72).

"When I was on the range, I was thinking about shooting 2 or 3 under, just like the first two days," Toms said. "I knew if I wasn't in the lead, that would at least have a chance."

With everyone around him stuck in neutral, Toms wound up firmly in charge. Nick Price, who led by one going into Saturday, tried to recover from a sluggish start but consecutive birdies late in the round still left him at 74.

Price was in a large group at 5-under 211 that included Charles Howell III, who was only two behind Toms with three holes to play until back-to-back bogeys.

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