Calcavecchia fights to 69, moves atop leaderboard

Associated Press • Apr 21, 2007 at 6:24 AM

AVONDALE, La. - Mark Calcavecchia was on the PGA Tour before Zurich Classic first-round leader Kyle Reifers was born.

They both put themselves in some tough spots during Friday's second round, and the seasoned pro handled it better than the tour rookie.

"It's a miracle I don't have any bogeys yet, considering the places I hit it today," Calcavecchia said after his 3-under 69 vaulted him from second place to the top of the leaderboard.

The 47-year-old former British Open champ stood at 9 under, one shot ahead of Lucas Glover (69) and Nick Watney (67).

"I shot the lowest score humanly possible today, considering the places I was," said Calcavecchia, who won the PODS Championship last month for his 13th PGA Tour title. "It kind of reminded me of Tiger Woods, who seems to make every 10-foot par put he looks at when he needs to."

Calcavecchia made what he termed "miraculous pars" with one-putts of about 11 and 8 feet on the sixth and eighth holes. Both putts came after he had hit into bunkers with difficult uphill lies.

On No. 15, his approach shot went over the green, then his chip about 9 feet past the pin. He putted in from there to save par. On the par-3 17th, he needed two shots to hit the green, then made par again with a 10-footer. He finished with a crowd pleasing 29-foot put to end his round on No. 18, holding his club in the air as the ball dropped.

"Maybe I'm wising up a little," said Calcavecchia, who credited a calmer mental approach to his 20th-place finish at the Masters two weeks ago. He said he easily could have turned that 20th place into a 40th or 50th "like I have in the past by losing it a little bit ... and doing some stupid things."

Just don't try to call him more mature. "No. I'll never mature," Calcavecchia said. "I'll be a kid until I'm dead." Reifers, who shot a course-record 64 Thursday, repeatedly pulled shots left off of the tee, costing him his first two bogeys of the tournament as he failed to consolidate the two-shot lead he had when the day began. He finished with a 73, leaving him tied for fourth at 7 under with Charley Hoffman (69).

"I just couldn't buy one. I felt like I was hitting good putts and they just didn't drop," Reifers said."

"I'm only two off the lead so I can't complain. I want to get on that back nine on Sunday and have a chance to win. So I didn't shoot myself in the foot too bad." After several players sponsored by Titleist played the opening rounds with Virginia Tech hats to show support for the university reeling from the murders of 32 people earlier this week, the PGA Tour received donated hats with the school's colors and trademark "VT" to give to all players during today's third round.

Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf

SAVANNAH, Ga. - England's Mark James shot a 5-under 67 in chilly, windy conditions to take the first-round lead in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

James, seeking his second Champions Tour win of the year, eagled the 530-yard, par-5 11th, hitting a 3-wood within 6 feet of the pin.

Players had to contend with northeast wind up to 20 mph blowing off the Atlantic Ocean and up the Savannah River early in the day. Temperatures never got out of the low 60s.

"My short game was good. It was as simple as that," James said. "On a day like today, you have to be able to chip and putt."

Defending champion Jay Haas was a stroke back along with Tom Purtzer and Tom Kite.

BMW Asian Open

SHANGHAI, China - France's Raphael Jacquelin shot a 3-under 69 to take a three-stroke lead over South Korea's Lee Sung in the BMW Asian Open.

Jacquelin had a 9-under 135 total in the event sanctioned by the European and Asian tours. Lee shot a 70 in the second round.

Ernie Els, the 2005 winner, was seven strokes back after his second straight 71. John Daly missed the cut, shooting a 76 to finish at 11 over.

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