Six tied atop St. Jude Championship leaderboard; wind expected to ease Saturday

Six tied atop St. Jude Championship leaderboard; wind expected to ease Saturday

Tommy Armour III
Marc Feldman/Getty Images

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Leading halfway through the Stanford St. Jude Championship has been a good way to predict the winner in the past.

That will be a little tougher this time around.

Gavin Coles had a 64 Friday for the best score through 36 holes, pushing him into a six-way tie atop the leaderboard after the second round at a TPC at Southwind course turned this warmup to the U.S. Open into a test of focus by gusting winds and firm greens.

Those winds that gusted up to 30 mph Friday are expected to ease on Saturday, leaving the tournament wide open.

“Anything can happen in 36 holes,” Coles said. “I might shoot another 6 or 8 or 10 under (Saturday), and no one else might not shoot any good. It’s that sort of golf course. You can be playing really good, and you get around that back nine there you know 11 and 12 and they can really bite you in the proverbial, where you don’t want it to be biting you.”

The six-way tie for the lead at the halfway point is the most players tied for lead at the halfway point on the PGA Tour since a six-way tie last year at the Shell Houston Open.

Tommy Armour III double-bogeyed No. 18 for a 71 and fell into a six-way tie with Dean Wilson (68), Jason Dufner (68), Michael Bradley (68) and Marc Turnesa (69) at 3-under 137 – the highest 36-hole total on the PGA Tour since Angel Cabrera at the Open last year when he was at even-par 140.

“Thirty-six holes left, I make bogeys and doubles. It’s the way it happens,” Armour said.

Vijay Singh started the day in third, two strokes back of the lead at 3 under. He finished with a 71 and was tied for seventh with Alex Cejka (69), Michael Letzig (68) and Davis Love III (70) at 138.

Singh called it a good test for those tuning up for Torrey Pines with the gusting winds making club selection difficult.

“It gets you in the game, keeps you very focused. You can lose your focus out there. Once you do that, you’re going to shoot a number,” Singh said.

The cut came at 5 over for a second straight year here, and the 13 players under par at the halfway point is the fewest under par since this course was redesigned after the 2004 event and par lowered to 70.

“It’s one of the toughest courses we’ve played all year,” Turnesa said after parring his two final holes. “In these conditions, this wind blowing this course is brutal. You’ve got to hit a lot of good golf shots out here. There’s not much letup.”

Grouped with Coles, he got to watch the Australian go through the round bogey-free with six birdies.

“Pretty impressive stuff,” Turnesa said.

Coles credited patience.

“It’s pretty slow out there really. So you can sort of back off and have another look and sort of take a bit of time, sort of wait for the gusts to go by,” he said. “It was difficult, but you now I think if you putted well today you would have had a pretty decent score. … When I did get in trouble, my putter sort of got me out of it a little.”

Of the six co-leaders, Armour, Bradley and Wilson have combined for five tour wins. Armour’s last victory came at the 2003 Valero Texas Open where he was the 36-hole leader. Wilson won the International in 2006, while Bradley is working his way back from a broken right ankle on a medical exemption in his fourth event this year.

Armour wasn’t worried even though he missed a chance to keep the lead to himself on the par-4 18th when he hit his tee shot into the lake that runs along the fairway and fronts the green. He missed a 16-foot putt to salvage bogey that would have given him a one-shot lead.

“You got to hit good shots, quality shots, and (I) hit a lot of them today and I played as good as I did yesterday. So looking forward to tomorrow,” Armour said.

So was Wilson, who finished tied for 10th at the Players Championship. He got to 4 under at one point and was in a three-way tie with Armour and first-round leader Boo Weekly.

“I haven’t got into a weekend yet this year where I’ve been in this good of shape,” said Wilson, who had five birdies and three bogeys.Divots: The cut at 5 over was the eighth time in the past nine tournaments on tour with the cut over par. … Dufner lost the finals of the 1998 U.S. Public Links Championship to Trevor Immelman, this year’s Masters champ, at Torrey Pines. Dufner is not in the Open field and has been playing both the PGA and Nationwide tours this year. … David Duval made his first cut of 2008 with a 145. It’s his first cut made since the Viking Classic last year where he finished tied for 44th. … David Toms made the cut by a stroke for his 13th consecutive year, second at this event only to Gene Littler. He made 14 straight cuts between 1958 through 1971.

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