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Lewis fires 2-under 69 to take three-stroke lead

Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2005

SILVIS, Ill. — J.L. Lewis has the lead — and the attention — all to himself in the John Deere Classic.

Lewis shot a 2-under 69 Saturday, extending his lead to three strokes at 15-under 198 after three rounds at the TPC at Deere Run.

Hank Kuehne (67), Richard S. Johnson (68) and Craig Bowden (68) were 12 under, and Jeff Brehaut (66) and Robert Damron (69) followed at 11 under.

''I don't know if I've ever won from the front on a tour event,'' said Lewis, who won a playoff in the 1999 tournament at Oakwood Country Club and came from seven shots back to win the 84 Lumber Classic in 2003.

''I don't really consider it a lead because if you go out there and you don't play well, they're going to blow right by you,'' he added. ''I was surprised somebody didn't do it today. I figured I'd have to shoot 3 or 4 under just to stay where I'm at.''

Lewis led after the second round, too, but few outside his immediate family probably noticed amid the Michelle Wie mania. The 15-year-old from Hawaii was on the brink of becoming the first woman in 60 years to make a cut on the PGA Tour, but she fell apart in the last four holes and missed by two strokes.

''I thought it was phenomenal,'' Lewis said. ''She's only 15 years old. Where were you guys when you were 15 years old? I was about 5-foot-6 and weighed about 120 pounds. I'm looking at her going, 'Geez, she's great.' I was hoping she'd make the cut.''

Instead, Wie was headed to Ohio for the men's U.S. Amateur Public Links next week and attention at Deere Run was back on the guys.

The crowds looked smaller Saturday, or at least more spread out, and the tournament didn't seem to have quite the same buzz. But the higher scores might have had something to do with it, too.

Lewis got off to a slow start with a bogey on the first hole, and he looked as if he might be in for a long day. His tee shot went into a bunker and then he flew the green, landing 91 feet behind the hole.

He got within 7 feet and had a chance to save par, but his putt ran about a foot long.

But just as he did Friday, Lewis got on a roll after a few holes, getting some help from nice putting. He made a 30-footer for birdie on the par-3 seventh, and a 41-footer on 15. He also made one from 8 feet on No. 8.

''I didn't make as many short putts as I probably should have, but I felt like I had my game going pretty good,'' he said. ''I struck the ball OK, and I felt like I hit it kind of where I wanted to most of the day.''

And it was plenty to hold off the rest of the field, with nobody else able to mount much of a charge.

''I figured somebody would shoot a really, really low score, and I was kind of surprised nobody did,'' Lewis said. ''It was kind of hard to get to some of the pins.''

Johnson looked as if he might challenge Lewis when he holed a shot from 138 yards out for an eagle on No. 1. But he'd fallen back to par for the day by the sixth hole, and couldn't get much else going.

He did come close to an eagle on the par-5 17th, but his putt from 11 feet hung on the lip of the cup and refused to drop.

Scottish Open

LUSS, Scotland — South Africa's Tim Clark shot a 6-under 65 for a share of the third-round lead with Dutchman Maarten Lafeber in the Scottish Open.

Lafeber shot a 68 to match Clark at 15-under 198 in the Loch Lomond course.

Alastair Forsythe, trying to join Colin Montgomerie as the only Scots to win their national open since it began in 1986, had a 67, leaving him only one shot behind with Argentina's Angel Cabrera (68).

Ernie Els (67) was five strokes back, and Phil Mickelson (71) was 12 shots out of the lead in the final event before the British Open next week at St. Andrews.

Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic

SYLVANIA, Ohio — Hee-Won Han birdied two of her last three holes to cap a 5-under 66 for a two-stroke lead in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.

Han, who started the day a shot behind Beth Daniel, was at 11-under 202.

To pick up her fourth career win, Han will have to hold off fellow South Korean Jeong Jang, who shot a 67 to reach 9 under. Defending champion Meg Mallon and 50-year-old Marilyn Lovander — winless in 180 career LPGA Tour starts — were 8 under after 68s. Leta Lindley was alone in fifth place at 7 under after a 68.

U.S. Women's Open champion Birdie Kim (71), Sung Ah Yim (68), Heather Bowie (69) and Becky Morgan (68) were all at 6 under. The 48-year-old Daniel had a double bogey on the last hole to shoot a 73. Trying to break her own mark as the oldest ever to win an LPGA event, she's at 5-under 208.

Senior Players Championship

DEARBORN, Mich. — Hale Irwin moved closer to his 11th career major victory, shooting his third straight 4-under 68 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Senior Players Championship.

Still dominant more than a month after turning 60, Irwin moved to 12-under 204, a stroke ahead of Dana Quigley (72), Gil Morgan (67) and Tom McKnight (70).

Don Pooley (65) was two shots back, and Peter Jacobsen (71), David Eger (65) and Doug Tewell (65) were three shots back on the TPC at Michigan.

Irwin won three U.S. Open titles and has won seven senior majors. He has two victories this year to push his Champions Tour record to 42.



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