Accuracy drives Funk's ascent Former Terps coach hits 13 of 14 fairways, moves to 2-under with a 68

TPC notebook

March 30, 1997|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Fred Funk had no problem dissecting his poor play in the first two rounds of The Players Championship.

Funk, who made a living as the Maryland Terrapins coach from 1982-88, led the PGA Tour in driving accuracy the past two years, when he collected more than $1.5 million in earnings.

He didn't win any prizes in the first two rounds at the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass, when he hit only 19 of 28 fairways. He found 13 of 14 yesterday, when a 68 moved him from 2-over to 2-under. Funk's round included six birdies and two bogeys.

"It wasn't what I could call an easy 68, but I played real solid," Funk said. "I don't know what happened to my driver the last two days. I kept putting the ball in the rough, and I'm not strong enough to advance it out of there. The way I played the first two days, I was just fortunate to make the cut."

This is the 11th event of the year for Funk, typically one of the busiest players on the PGA Tour. His best finish was a tie for fourth at the Nissan Open.

Woods, Faldo paired

Who will attract more attention today, the final pairing of Steve Elkington and Scott Hoch, or the 11: 28 a.m. group that is 13 strokes off the pace? Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo will play together, afterWoods had an even-par 72 and Faldo was even worse, with a 73.

Greg Norman isn't much better -- at 1-under after a 72. Tom Lehman, meanwhile, began the day three stokes behind Elkington, but played his way out of contention with double-bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15 that turned a round of 69 into a 73.

Roberts makes move

Loren Roberts had the second-best round of the day, a 67 that moved him from a tie for 50th to a share of ninth place.

Gilmore stands out

There was at least one spectator who had no difficulty getting a view of the action. Conspicuous in the gallery was 7-footer Artis Gilmore, who 23 years ago this weekend led Jacksonville University to its greatest athletic achievement, the NCAA basketball final. Gilmore and the Dolphins lost to UCLA.

Pub Date: 3/30/97

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