Another eagle comes to Bryant's rescue

Golf

November 05, 2005

Bart Bryant raised both arms as his putt headed for the center of the cup yesterday, giving him another eagle on the 15th hole at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

But this celebration was different.

The short eagle putt in the first round carried him to the course record at East Lake.

This one allowed him to end a slide and kept him atop the leader board with defending champion Retief Goosen.

"It was more important than two shots," Bryant said.

Bryant saw a five-shot lead disappear in six holes as he struggled in the bunkers, but recovered with the 30-foot eagle putt for a 2-under 68 that left him tied with Goosen entering the weekend.

Goosen was erratic, hitting only four fairways, but he managed to continue his mastery at East Lake with a 66 and gave himself a good chance at becoming the first repeat winner of the tournament.

"I scrambled really well," Goosen said. "Four-under is as good as I could have played today."

They were at 10-under 130 and were three shots clear of Ben Crane (65), Scott Verplank (66) and Tiger Woods, who had a 67 despite another day without a birdie on the par-5s, and another adventure on the 14th hole.

Woods, who found the short grass only three times, hooked his tee shot into a tent of concession supplies, including refrigerators for the ice. He got a free drop and made par, then salvaged a crucial par on the 17th after hitting his tee shot behind a tree and eventually making a 20-foot putt.

"Bart is playing beautifully and Goose is always steady, and it's going to be tough this weekend," Woods said.

PGA Southern Farm Bureau Classic -- John Cook closed with four straight birdies for a 7-under 65 and shared the lead with five players after two rounds in Madison, Miss. Cook was at 10-under 134 after his second trip around the par-72, 7,199-yard Annandale Golf Club. He finished his round by making a 35-foot birdie putt at No. 18, drawing cheers from the gallery. The 11-time PGA Tour winner was tied with first-round leader Bob Tway (70), Kevin Na (68), Tag Ridings (66), Tom Pernice Jr. (68) and Jonathan Byrd (69).

LPGA Mizuno Classic -- Annika Sorenstam got the fast start she was looking for in her bid for a fifth straight win in the tournament in Otsu, Japan. Sorenstam opened with an 8-under 64 to finish the first round a stroke behind South Korea's Young Kim. Trying to break Laura Davies' LPGA Tour record for consecutive victories in an event, Sorenstam birdied seven of the first 10 holes and finished the bogey-free round with eight birdies. Davies won the Standard Register Ping from 1994 to 1997.

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