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Browne sizzles while Woods struggles

Olin Browne didn’t have a lot of answers Saturday, only birdies.

One week after he missed the cut, Browne hardly missed a shot in the second round on his way to five consecutive birdies and a 6-under-par 65 that gave him a share of the lead with Jeff Brehaut in the Deutsche Bank Championship at Norton, Mass.

Browne hit the ball so well on the TPC of Boston that he had only one birdie outside 15 feet on his first 11 holes and converted most of them. His only bogey on a breezy, sunny afternoon was a three-putt from 25 feet, and he made pars the rest of the way to join Brehaut at 9-under 133.

“I don’t understand why I don’t play better half the time,” Browne said.

Brehaut, who for the first time doesn’t have to sweat over keeping his PGA Tour card, had a 66. They led by one shot over Robert Allenby (65), Billy Andrade (68) and Tim Petrovic (66).

Tiger Woods didn’t have a good explanation, either.

Coming off a flawless 65 Thursday that gave him the first-round lead, Woods was constantly scrambling for par and searching for a swing that would work. He wound up with a 2-over 73 that left him five shots behind.

“I didn’t hit it well. I didn’t putt well. I didn’t chip well,” Woods said after his first round over par on the TPC at Boston. “That was ugly today. But I’m still in the ballgame.”

He and just about everyone else.

Allenby soared up the leaderboard with four straight birdies, and thought he might end his round with five in a row when his approach on the ninth pitched just inches from the cup. He had to settle for a two-putt par from 18 feet. Marcel Siem of Germany opened with four straight birdies, closed with two more and tied the course record with a 62 to get within three shots of the lead.

It left a mad scramble over the next two days, with only eight shots separating the leaders from those who made the cut at 1-under 141. That slim of a margin has happened only two other times this year.


Solheim Cup player Pat Hurst shot a 7-under 65 to take a three-stroke lead in the LPGA State Farm Classic at Springfield, Ill., the final event before the United States faces Europe next week at Crooked Stick.

Hurst, who won the last of her three LPGA Tour titles in 2000, had eight birdies and a bogey in the third round to finish at 15-under 201 on Rail Golf Club course.

A week ago, she was tied for the lead on the last tee at the Wendy’s Championship for Children in Ohio, but ended up losing to Cristie Kerr.

“Even with what happened, I brought a lot of confidence in from last week … I’m hitting the ball pretty good, I just started making some putts,” said Hurst, who will play on her fourth U.S. Solheim Cup team.

Kim Williams was second after a 66. She holed a 40-foot bunker shot on the par-three 16th for one of her seven birdies.

“That was a boost, no doubt about it,” said the 42-year-old Williams, winless on the LPGA Tour.

Kerr, the winner last year with a tournament-record 24-under total, was four strokes back along with Scotland’s Catriona Matthew. Kerr and Matthew, a member of the European Solheim Cup team, shot 67s.

Natalie Gulbis, another U.S. Solheim Cup player, shot a 70 to join Europe’s Maria Hjorth (71), Hee-Won Han (70) and Heather Bowie (71) at 9 under.

U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Morgan Pressel shot a 68 to finish at 6 under. She had a double bogey on the No. 17 after hitting into the water.

Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., another member of the Solheim Cup, shot an even-par 72 and is at 5-under 211.

Champions Tour

Hale Irwin shot a 3-under 69 for a share of the second-round lead with Gil Morgan in the First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, Calif.

The 60-year-old Irwin, the Champions Tour’s career victory leader with 42, birdied the final two holes to match Morgan at 9-under 135. Irwin, a two-time winner this year, played in cool afternoon conditions.

“In this kind of weather, I’m extremely pleased with the way my body performed,” Irwin said. “I didn’t make a lot of putts, so there was some frustration. But I don’t think I was alone out there. Still, I was pleased with the round.”

Morgan, a 23-time winner on the 50 and older circuit who is trying to win a tour event for the 10th straight year, had a tournament-best 65 at Del Monte.

“I started fast,” Morgan said. “I played well all the way around, except for the last three holes.”

Defending champion Craig Stadler (68), Dan Pooley (67), Lonnie Nielsen (67) and Morris Hatalsky (68) were 7 under, and Mark McCumber (69), Keith Fergus (68) and Walter Hall (71) were another stroke back.

Dana Quigley, the tour money leader who shared the first-round lead with Irwin, shot a 73 to drop four strokes behind. Gary Player, 69, shot his age at Del Monte to finish at 2 under.

The tournament pairs the 78 pros with a junior partner in foursomes that also include two amateurs. Nielsen and Colby Smith of Roseville, Calif., have a three-stroke margin in the pro-junior competition. The top 22 pro-junior teams advanced to the final round today at Pebble Beach.