Four tied for Allianz Championship lead heading into final round

By Steve Waters
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Four tied for Allianz Championship lead heading into final round

A day after playing nearly flawless golf, Olin Browne struggled to keep his game together Saturday and he succeeded, shooting a 3-under-par 69 to share the lead with three others heading into the final round of the Allianz Championship.

"There was something with my swing that wasn't quite right today," said Browne, who on Friday said he made only two errant swings in shooting a 9-under 63. "I was just frankly struggling to hit the ball where I was looking. Yesterday was so easy. Today was the exact opposite and that is how golf works."

Also at 12-under 132 after two rounds in the PGA Tour Champions event on the Old Course at Broken Sound were Doug Garwood, who shot 64 Saturday to go with an opening 68; Joe Durant, who shot 67-65; and Scott McCarron, who shot his second 66.

Fred Couples, who shot 65, and Tom Pernice Jr., who shot 64, were tied for fifth at 133. Five others were at 134, including Kenny Perry, who had five birdies in his first eight holes to get to 12 under and take a three-shot lead. A bogey on the 10th hole derailed his momentum and he ended up with a 69 to go with his opening 65.

Brown's troubles began on the first hole, an easy par 5. After a perfect tee shot, he topped his hybrid second shot into a bunker, blasted out short of the green and got up and down for par. He made an 8-foot par-saving putt at the third hole after missing the green with his tee shot, just missed birdie putts at the sixth and seventh and made a 15-footer for par at the eighth.

After 12 consecutive pars, he celebrated when he made a birdie putt at 13, hit a great approach to 15 for another birdie, made a clutch par putt at 17 after dumping his approach in a greenside bunker, then two-putted the 507-yard par-5 18th for birdie.

"I hit a poor shot on eight and I hit a really poor shot on 17, and to be able to recover from those makes all the difference," said Browne, of Tequesta. "Those are almost like birdies on a day like today when you don't have control over your game. I'm really pleased to have shot 69 today."

Garwood, of Los Angeles, had nine birdies and one bogey. He birdied the 18th to become the first player to finish at 12 under.

Durant, of Pensacola Beach, two-putted for birdie on 18 to become the next to finish at 12 under. After going out in 2 under, he had six birdies and a bogey on the back nine.

McCarron, of La Quinta, Calif., who was in the next-to-last group, birdied 17 then two-putted 18 for birdie.

Aside from those birdies, he said a key to his day was when he followed a bogey on the 345-yard par-4 13th -- "Probably the easiest hole on the golf course" -- with a birdie at the difficult 204-yard par-3 14th.

"I just striped a 5-iron in there about 12 feet just below the hole," McCarron said. "I think that was one that kind of kept me in the round."

The popular Couples, who is playing the Allianz for the first time, holed a 90-yard sand wedge for an eagle 2 at the 10th and birdied 17 and 18 to get to 11 under. He and Pernice tee off with Browne at 12:19 p.m. The other three players at 12 under tee off at 12:30.

All of them are anticipating a shootout.

"There's going to be a 64 or 65. There might be a 63," Browne said. "I think somebody will come out of the group that's 10 under or better and shoot a great round, so you're probably going to have to get to 18 under par."

"With the conditions, it's ripe for 62s and 63s and whatnot," Durant said.

"The greens are rolling great," McCarron said, "so if you can get a lot of looks [at birdie], you're going to make some putts."

Ames aces: Former Lynn University golfer Stephen Ames, who shot 63 Saturday to vault into a tie for 12th at 135, got a hole in one on the 14th hole with a 5-iron. It was his first ace on the Champions or PGA tours and his 11th overall. "I had a lot as a junior," said Ames, who lives in Vancouver.

Daly implodes: After opening with a 71, John Daly shot a 3-over 75 Saturday. Daly, who had four birdies and three bogeys Friday, had four bogeys, a double bogey, a birdie and an eagle at the 18th.

Bryant withdraws: Bart Bryant, who shot 72 Friday, withdrew from the tournament before Saturday's round because of a family health issue.

Cataract check: Tournament sponsor Alcon, which makes replacement lenses for cataract surgery patients, has an informative booth with a simulator where spectators can hit golf shots and win prizes. They can also learn about cataract symptoms and Alcon's new lens that corrects astigmatism and presbyopia, which is when older folks have trouble reading.

This article is written by Steve Waters from Sun Sentinel and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network.