67 nice number for C. Campbell

He leads Singh, two others by 3

Woods is 5 back

The Masters

April 08, 2006|By DON MARKUS | DON MARKUS,SUN REPORTER

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Halfway leaders in the Masters come in all varieties. There are the legendary, including defending champion Tiger Woods. There are the long forgotten, such as Ed Dudley, Harry Todd and Peter J. Butler. And there are the nearly famous.

Chad Campbell fits into the last category. After what he did yesterday at Augusta National in the second round of the 70th Masters, the 31-year-old Texan could see his resume, not to mention his wardrobe, expand if he does as well for two more days.

With a 5-under-par 67, Campbell vaulted to the top of the leader board with a two-round total of 6-under 138, giving him a three-stroke lead over former champions Fred Couples and Vijay Singh, as well as journeyman Rocco Mediate.

But Campbell, whose biggest victory to date came in the 2003 Tour Championship and whose career highlights include beating Woods in this year's Match Play event, is not thinking about the green jacket he might be wearing come tomorrow night.

"You know, it's special to be leading after two rounds," Campbell said. "Obviously, my goal is to be leading after four rounds. But it's a good start and hopefully I'll have a good weekend. This is a special place and a special tournament."

Campbell has come close to winning a major championship before. In the 2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y., he was tied with Shaun Micheel going into the final hole. Micheel nearly holed out from 175 yards, made birdie and won by two strokes when Campbell bogeyed.

He hasn't come close in a major since.

"Obviously, your goal is to compete in all the majors," said Campbell, who has missed the cut in eight of the 16 majors he has played in, including his first two Masters before finishing tied for 17th last year. "I haven't done as well as I'd like, obviously, and I think that's what I've been working toward."

Asked if he planned to celebrate last night, Campbell said, "I don't think there's anything to celebrate yet. I really haven't accomplished much yet. There's 36 holes left and we're only halfway through. It's where I want to be. My parents will be happy for me. They know what's going on. They are following me."

Many more accomplished players are following Campbell, too -- on the leader board.

Aside from the threesome that is three strokes behind, five players trail by four shots. They include 2004 champion and reigning PGA champion Phil Mickelson, two-time U.S. Open and former British Open champion Ernie Els of South Africa, and Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland.

A group of seven players led by Woods is at 1-under 143. Also in that group are 54-year-old Ben Crenshaw, a two-time champion who last won here in 1995, as well as two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa and Padraig Harrington of Ireland.

Singh, who started the round in the lead at 5-under and one stroke ahead of Mediate, was the only player to reach 7-under. But after making birdies on two of the first three holes, Singh made two straight double bogeys and three for the day, finishing with a 2-over 74.

"I thought I played pretty decent apart from that," said Singh, who closed the round with a birdie on the par-5 15th and another on the par-4 17th. "The wind was swirling around and it was difficult to pick clubs. I was pleased with the way I finished with a 74. It could have been a lot worse."

Woods, trying to win his fifth Masters and 11th major championship, chuckled when mention was made of the shifting winds. Much of yesterday's round depended not only on when a player teed off -- Campbell, for example, went out earlier than most on the leader board -- but when he hit certain shots.

On the par-3 fourth hole, where the tee was moved up from 240 yards on Thursday to 185 yesterday, Woods and playing partner Robert Allenby both hit 6-irons. The wind knocked Woods' ball into a bunker in front of the green and blew Allenby's into bushes behind it.

"You just hope you can time it right," said Woods.

Today, the players might not have to worry about the wind, but rain. After nearly a week of uninterrupted sunshine, thunderstorms were expected to move into the area, potentially playing havoc with the third round and leaving the possibility of playing more than 18 holes on Sunday for the second straight year.

Regardless of the weather, it could be a difficult weekend for Campbell. With the exception of Canadian left-hander Mike Weir, who won in a playoff in 2003 after leading through 36 holes, rarely has a second-round leader without multiple major-championship success held on to win the Masters in recent years.

Singh, for one, believes that Campbell might be an exception. His victory in this year's Bob Hope Chrysler Classic came after he took the opening-round lead with a 63, and his win in the Tour Championship came after he shot a 61 in the third round to take a one-stroke lead.

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