ATLANTA, May 6 (Reuters) Resplendent in a pair of bright orange trousers, American Bo Van Pelt delivered his best impression of a world-class player to surge three shots clear at the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Making sure he was not distracted by the second-round leaderboards, Van Pelt aimed as low as he could before completing a record-equalling eight-under-par 64.
''The real great players -- Vijay (Singh), Ernie (Els), Tiger (Woods) -- when they get playing good, they shoot really low,'' Van Pelt told reporters after finishing on a tournament best 10-under 13.
''So I didn't look at any leaderboards all day, not that I really cared, but I just wanted to challenge myself to see how low I could shoot.
''I kept reminding myself all day to try to birdie every hole coming in.
''I think that's one thing that great players do when they're playing well. They're not satisfied. They don't just say: 'Oh, I'm a couple under' and keep it that way.'' The 30-year-old made an excellent job of it with a nine-birdie haul on a wet, overcast day at Quail Hollow Club that helped him match the tournament record 64 set by compatriot Kirk Triplett in 2004.
He set the tone by picking up shots at the first two holes and birdied three of the treacherous last five to take charge of the tournament before thunderstorms curtailed play in the afternoon.
''I just hit a bunch of fairways and a bunch of greens, and the speed is everything on these greens,'' said Van Pelt, who is chasing his first title on the PGA Tour.
''I played good, but making birdie on three of the par-threes out here, I didn't really plan on those. I think that's what took a good round to a really good round for me today.'' FASHION SENSE Asked to explain his bold fashion choice, he replied: ''I guess I felt the heat.
''I put on these orange pants today, and I felt like I really better play good or I was going to get made fun of.
''I'm pretty much a khaki-and-white shirt guy, pretty bland.
I told my wife: 'I think I'm going to take all these crazy-coloured pants to Charlotte and see what happens.' ''She started laughing at me. So I brought them. Maybe I ought to wear them more often.'' Van Pelt hopes to draw on the experience of being in contention for last year's Memorial tournament.
''I played with Tiger last year on Sunday, and we both had a chance to win and we both finished tied for third,'' he recalled of his joint best finish on the PGA Tour.
''I felt like I was there stride-for-stride. Obviously I haven't accomplished anything like those guys have, but that's the great part about golf. All those guys had to win their first one, too.
''I'd say my goals started a couple years ago,'' added the Oklahoma-based professional.
''I wanted to try to be really consistent. I wanted to be up there all the time and not just worry about winning once.
''I figure if I keep giving myself chances, one of those Sundays is going to be my day.'' Reuters VJ VP0727