Sun, Sep 26, 2004 - Page 22 News List

Ben Curtis on Vijay Singh's heels


Ben Curtis on the 18th hole at the 84 Lumber Classic in Farmington, Pennsylvania, Friday. Curtis shot a second round 67 for a two-day total of 10-under par.


Ben Curtis came out of nowhere to win the 2003 British Open, one of the biggest upsets ever in a major championship. Almost immediately, nowhere found him again.

Curtis, all but invisible before that upset of a lifetime and all but invisible since, shot a second straight 5-under 67 Friday to close to within two shots of leader Vijay Singh at the 84 Lumber Classic.

Maybe he was wearing the wrong colors for a golfer in Pittsburgh Steelers country -- Cleveland Browns bright orange rather the black and gold -- but it was all that red on the scoreboard that made him stand out.

For someone whose tournaments usually have consisted of two days and out, it was a pleasant turnaround. Even if, no matter where he turned on the back nine, he heard all about his choice of clothing.

"I didn't hear anything until the 14th hole, then I heard something every hole from then on," said Curtis, who grew up a Browns fan in not-that-far-away Ostrander, Ohio. "It took them a little while to wake up and realize I had Browns stuff on."

The Heritage

Five days after making the putt that won the Ryder Cup, Colin Montgomerie missed the cut at a European PGA tour event Friday.

Montgomerie shot a five-over-par 77 at The Heritage to follow his one-under 71 and finished three strokes outside the cutoff mark.

Graeme McDowell, who shot a 4-under 68, and Phillip Price, who carded 67, shared the second-round lead at 9-under. Swedes Patrik Sjoland and Henrik Stenson were on 8-under after rounds of 68 and 67 respectively.

Montgomerie never recovered from a double-bogey 7 at his first hole, the 10th. He also bogeyed the 14th and 16th. After a birdie at 18, he double-bogeyed the 136m second hole when his tee shot flew the green into heavy rough. Two more bogeys and two birdies followed.

SAS Championship

Craig Stadler shot a 7-under 65 and took a two-shot lead over defending champion D.A. Weibring and Wayne Levi after the first round of the Champions Tour's SAS Championship on Friday.

Stadler is going for his third straight victory and fifth of the season, an incredible run that just happened to coincide with the solid play of 24-year-old Kevin on the developmental Nationwide Tour.

On Thursday, Kevin shot a 65 in the first round to trail leader Justin Bolli by two shots.

"I knew Kevin had a good round yesterday, so I asked ... how he was doing today," Craig Stadler said.

His son had another fine round -- a 2-under 69 left him very much in contention for his third victory of the season -- and his father did pretty well, too. A bogey at No. 6 dropped Craig Stadler to one over, but he immediately made amends with an eagle on the par-5 7th, where he made a 40-footer.

He started the back with three straight birdies, then added three more over the final four holes.

"I walked off the 18th green toward the scoring tent and saw the scoreboard there," Stadler said. "I said, `I did shoot 7 under.'

"It's been like this for the last few weeks," Stadler said. "I haven't got out real quick, and then I make it up on the back nine. I played a real solid back nine today, I hit a lot of good shots."

He's been doing that pretty much since he turned 50 and became eligible for the seniors tour last June. Besides his victories this season, he has a runner-up, two thirds and 10 other top 10s in 17 events. He played in only 14 events in 2003 and still finished 14th on the money list, winning three times.

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