Mon, Jan 16, 2006 - Page 20 News List

David Tom sets course record


David Toms set a course record with a 9-under 61 and it still wasn't enough to take the lead in the Sony Open, which turned into a two-man race between Toms and the equally hot Chad Campbell on Saturday.

Toms finally caught Campbell with a two-putt birdie on the 18th, setting the tournament record at Waialae Country Club since it changed to a par 70 in 1999. Davis Love III still has the course record of 12-under 60 in 1994.

"I was just trying to keep up," Toms said. "I made a couple of putts I wasn't supposed to make, but that's what you do when you have a hot round."

Campbell did his heavy lifting with the irons, rarely leaving himself birdie putts outside 15 feet and converting enough of them for a 62. He had a 15-foot birdie putt to match Toms' record score on the final hole, but it hung on the lip.

They were at 14-under 196, seven shots clear of anyone else.

"I was able to follow in his footsteps," Campbell said, although it looked to be the other way around. "It was nice to see the wind calm down so we could make some birdies."

Big-hitting Bubba Watson, who hit a wedge into the par-5 18th for a birdie and a 66, and Shane Bertsch (63) were tied for third at 7-under 203. Jim Furyk, tied with Campbell starting the third round, struggled to a 70 that left him in the group at 204 that included Rory Sabbatini and Charles Warren.

Waialae was missing some energy with 16-year-old Michelle Wie home writing a school paper instead of testing herself on the US PGA Tour. Not even one-fourth of the gallery that watched her for two days were with the final threesome, although the golf was superb.

A gentle breeze allowed for better scoring, but no one took advantage like Toms and Campbell.

Defending champion Vijay Singh went out in 30 to pull within one shot of the lead, but he managed only two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine for a 65, and wound up losing ground.

Everyone did.

"You just knew if the weather was going to be like this, we could play better," Watson said.

Campbell had birdie putts inside 15 feet on 11 of the 18 holes, and might have gone even lower had he made more of them. Toms relied more on his putting, one of the best strokes on tour.

Toms was tied with Campbell after hitting into 8 feet on the difficult sixth hole, putting both at 7 under. Campbell responded with a tee shot on the par-3 seventh that stopped 4 feet away. That was the start of four straight birdies, and Toms did well to stay with him.

The biggest putt for Toms might have come at No. 11, a par 3 with skinny palms providing a frame of the Pacific Ocean. Toms hit 4-iron just through the green, and his putter got caught in the collar of the rough as he took a practice stroke. He had to lift the putter and pop the ball, but it came out perfect.

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