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Published: Sunday, 7/3/2011

Aronimink not putting up much of a challenge

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- K.J. Choi didn't get much of a chance to savor his course record at Aronimink.

At least he had a night to enjoy it.

Chris Kirk barely got an hour.

Choi's 64 on Friday was matched or bested by seven other golfers a day later at the AT&T National. Nick Watney has the record after shooting an 8-under 62. Steve Marino and Kirk shot 63, and Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson shot 64.

"I'm not the only one that's shooting that number out there," Marino said.

No, he sure wasn't.

The greens were watered Friday night, and pin placements on the softer course appeared more accessible. Watney wowed the fans with a 27 on the back nine, which helped place him atop the leaderboard with Fowler. His 62 tied a tournament record. The 27 is the lowest nine-hole score on the PGA Tour this season.

Kirk joked he never shot better than a 62, and that was playing some friendly rounds with friends. Kirk, whose top PGA Tour finish is a tie for second, knew as his round was nearing an end that he was nipping at Choi's record.

He only knew what Aronimink's record was because Choi shot a 6-under 64 to build a two-shot lead and set the mark.

"I didn't know how he did that," Kirk said. "I guess now I know."

Kirk, a rookie, enters Sunday only three strokes back of the co-leaders.

"It's more about getting myself into contention," he said. "But that's a nice little bonus, I guess."

The catch, of course, is that this is only the second year of the AT&T National at Aronimink Golf Club.

By the time Fowler teed off later in the day, the low scores had become the norm. He kept it going with a 30 on the front nine and a 34 on the back.

"It's definitely nice to see those scores," he said. "It gives you the ability to kind of go into the round with some confidence knowing there's a good number out there."

Kevin Stadler shot a 64 but was stuck in 14th place.

"I don't want to say it's easy," he said. "On this course, if you hit it well, you're going to have a lot of chances."

Webb Simpson shot a 64 and tied for fourth. Cameron Tringale also shot a 64.

Lu no longer a surprise on Champions Tour

BLAINVILLE, Quebec -- Taiwan's Lu Chien-soon shot a 9-under 63 Saturday to match the course record and take a one-stroke lead over John Cook after the second round of the Champions Tour's Montreal Championship.

Lu bogeyed the opening hole, then had 10 birdies in a 13-hole stretch from Nos. 5 to 17 to reach 16 under at Fontainebleau Golf Club. He tied the course record set last year by D.A. Weibring in the inaugural tournament and matched Friday by Cook and John Huston.

Lu settled for par on the par-4 18th when his 25-foot putt for birdie went wide right.

"Just misread it," Lu said.

The 51-year-old player has fought a debilitating back injury. Having previously attributed part of his recovery to drinking wine, he had a surprising twist to offer when asked about his preparation Saturday.

"British beer," said Lu, smiling, before noting that he planned on sticking with what was working as he got ready to face the final round with the lead. "Just a little bit, beer."

Cook, a two-time winner this year, had a 66.

"[Lu's] world class. He really is," said Cook, second behind Larry Mize last year. "He surprised us a bit last year. We'll get a chance to see him up close and personal again [today]."

Huston was two strokes back after a 67. He won the Dick's Sporting Goods Open last week in Endicott, N.Y., for his first victory on the 50-and-over tour. Jay Haas and Joey Sindelar were 13 under after 66s.

Mize was 10 under after a 69.



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