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Late bogey costs Furyk outright Heritage lead

By Staff
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MIAMI, Apr 16 (Reuters) Jim Furyk had to settle for a share of the lead with playing partner Aaron Baddeley after bogeying the final hole in the Heritage Classic third round at Hilton Head, South Carolina.

The 35-year-old American, two shots clear at the start of a sunny but breezy day, completed a three-under-par 68 at the Harbour Town Golf Links for a 14-under total of 199 yesterday.

After reeling off three birdies in a row from the 15th to forge one ahead, Furyk overshot the green with his eight-iron approach at the last and was unable to get up and down from an awkward spot in the back bunker to save par.

Australian Baddeley, one of four players tied for second at the halfway point, fired a six-birdie 66 to keep alive his hopes of winning a maiden PGA Tour title.

''I'm happy with the way I played,'' 2003 U.S. Open champion Furyk told reporters. ''Conditions were tough and the wind got whipping pretty good about the time Aaron and I were making the turn.

''On the back nine, I really struck the ball well with my irons and I gave myself a lot of opportunities.'' Furyk felt he had been unlucky with his second shot on 18.

''I couldn't have hit it any better,'' he said. ''I hit it right at the stick and it didn't turn out the way I wanted it.

TOUGH POSITION ''I got in a tough position in the bunker with my feet not really in the bunker and on the down slope, so I've got my shoulders and whole body angling down. It was a tough shot.'' Baddeley, who has twice finished second on the PGA Tour since joining the circuit in 2003, was happy with his effort in tricky conditions.

''It was a tough day but a good day, I hung in there,'' the 25-year-old Australian said. ''I didn't hit every green, but when I missed it I got up-and-down and hit a lot of good shots. I drove the ball really well, which I'm really happy with.

''Jim was playing well, also, so we were sort of feeding off each other a little bit.'' American Billy Mayfair was alone in third at 11 under, after returning a 68, while world number five Ernie Els (65) sat a further stroke back in a tie for fourth with another American, Jerry Kelly (66).

Els, the highest-ranked player in the field, birdied three of the last four holes to card his second best round in eight appearances at Harbour Town as the sea breezes began to strengthen.

''It was a fun day today,'' the 36-year-old South African said.

''It feels like I don't have too many weaknesses in my game at the moment.'' BIGGEST MOVE American Heath Slocum made the biggest move among the early starters, carding five birdies and an eagle-three in the first eight holes on his way to a sparkling 65.

Although the Florida-based professional failed to maintain that momentum on the back nine, he ended up in a share of 11th place at seven-under 206.

The day began well for Furyk, who picked up shots at the first and fifth before he stumbled at the par-four seventh after finding a greenside bunker with his approach.

Renowned for his accuracy off the tee, Furyk also bogeyed the par-four eighth after pushing his drive into trees on the right and hitting his second shot short of the green.

Although Baddeley failed to reach the green in two on that hole, he got up and down for par to take a one-shot lead, having birdied three of the first five holes.

The Australian dropped his only shot of the day at the par-four 11th and he and Furyk duelled for the lead over the closing stretch until the American's late stumble left the pair deadlocked at 14 under.

REUTERS PDS BD0755

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