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Golf-Van Pelt three clear at Wachovia, Singh rallies with 68

Written by: Staff

ATLANTA, May 5 (Reuters) American Bo Van Pelt charged into an early three-shot lead at the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina today while several of the bigger names began to rally.

Van Pelt fired a sparkling eight-under-par 64 in damp, overcast conditions at Quail Hollow Club, ending the second round at 10-under 134.

The 30-year-old from Indiana, chasing his first title on the PGA Tour, mixed nine birdies with a solitary bogey at the par-four fourth to finish three strokes ahead of 2003 US Open champion Jim Furyk.

One of four leaders overnight after opening with a 68, Furyk returned a 69 after bogeying two of his last three holes.

''I felt like I drove the ball very, very well today,'' Furyk told reporters. ''I had a little bit more control of my game and drove it well, hit my irons better.

''The score was one worse than yesterday but it was a good round of golf and I got myself in good position for the weekend.

''I'm disappointed about the bogeys, though,'' the 35-year-old American added, referring to his dropped shots on 16 and 17.

''I felt in my mind I should have played those holes better.

It was kind of like an easy up-and-down on 16 that didn't happen and then a three-putt on 17 but that's part of it.'' FIVE BIRDIES Davis Love III was alone in third place at six under after carding a second successive 69 while holder Vijay Singh was a further stroke back after a 68 that featured five birdies in his last eight holes.

South African Rory Sabbatini, among the four pacesetters at the start of the day, slipped back to three under after bogeys on 16 and at the last gave him a 73.

Of the other big names in a high-quality field, Ernie Els was at two under after a 71 and Spaniard Sergio Garcia at one under after a 69.

Garcia, who was edged out by Fijian Singh in a three-way playoff for last year's title, had been in danger of not qualifying for the weekend after opening with a 74.

The halfway cut was projected to fall at two-over 146.

US Masters champion Phil Mickelson, after a first-round 71, and twice U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen, who opened with a 70, were among the day's late starters.

So, too, were South African Trevor Immelman and American Bill Haas, the other leaders overnight.

Nine of the world's top 11 players are competing this week in one of the strongest fields of the year.

The absentees are world number one Tiger Woods, whose father Earl died on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer, and eighth-ranked David Toms, who withdrew earlier in the week.

Reuters VJ VP0100

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