- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) - As the Masters turned blustery, Kenny Perry surged into a share of the lead with Chad Campbell while Tiger Woods kept plodding along, hoping to make his move on the weekend.

Perry tapped in for birdie at the final hole for a 5-under-par 67 in much tougher conditions Friday, setting himself up to make a run at becoming the oldest major champion in golf history.

The Kentuckian will be 48 years, 8 months, when the green jacket is handed out on Sunday, four months older than Julius Boros when he won the 1968 PGA Championship.

Campbell shot 70, tying him with Perry at 9-under 135. Woods could only manage a 72 and will go to the final two rounds seven shots off the lead.

“I really believe I can win this tournament,” Perry said.

Campbell might have something to say about that. He bounced back from a tough back side to make a 25-foot birdie putt at No. 18, putting himself in a familiar position. Three years ago, he entered the weekend with the lead but fell back during a rain-plagued third round that extended over two days.

He finished in a tie for third, three strokes behind winner Phil Mickelson.

“It’s nice that I have been in this position before,” Campbell said. “There’s a long ways to go, but it’s definitely nice to not be on foreign ground.”

No one made a bigger move than Anthony Kim, the emotional leader of last year’s winning U.S. Ryder Cup team that also included Campbell and Perry.

The 23-year-old Californian, a polar opposite of Perry (in age) and the soft-spoken Campbell (in temperament), shot a brilliant 65 despite a stiffer breeze, firmer greens and tougher pin positions than he faced on Thursday while struggling to a 75.

Kim, playing in this tournament for the first time, probably wondered if he’d make the cut after the opening-round debacle. Now, having set a Masters record for the most birdies on one round (11), he’s solidly in contention for a green jacket with a 140, just five strokes off the lead.

“I haven’t been making 11 birdies in two days,” Kim said. “To make 11 in one day is pretty special, and to do it Augusta is incredible.

“If I can keep my putter hot, I like my chances here.”

Kim pulled himself together after making a bogey at No. 9 and a double-bogey at the 10th. He drew a few insights, he said, after reading a story about Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, one year younger than Kim and killed in a car wreck early Thursday shortly after pitching in a game.

“I refocused on the 11th tee. I made some good swings. I told myself, ‘No matter what you shoot, I want you to put this tournament round in perspective.’

“Look, it been my dream to be at the Masters all my life,” Kim said. “I didn’t want to pout about bogeys. I just wanted to go out there and have some fun. That’s what made 11 birdies a lot easier.”

After opening with a 70 that could have been much better if not for a balky putter, Woods lost ground to the leaders on Friday. An 8-footer to save par at No. 18 caught the lip and popped out, leaving the world’s No. 1 player with plenty of ground to make up over the final two rounds.

“A lot of wasted opportunities today,” Woods said. “I didn’t get a whole lot out of my round.”

His putting must improve if he’s going to have any chance of chasing down Campbell and Perry. Of course, Woods overcame a five-shot hole on the final day at Bay Hill two weeks ago, sinking a birdie putt on the final hole.

“I hit some good putts, a little bit better today than yesterday, but I didn’t make many,” Woods said. “Obviously, I need to putt a little better than I have.”

While players such as Kim, Perry and Steve Stricker (69) did just fine, Augusta National did show its teeth a bit after a hosting a birdiefest Thursday, when 19 players shot in the 60s and 38 broke par, both records for an opening day at the Masters.

The wind had picked up considerably, swirling through Amen Corner and firming up the greens. Puffy, white clouds whipped across the sky, and the forecast warned of possible storms before the day was done. Plus, the pins were placed in more devious spots, leaving little room for error.

Larry Mize went from 67 to 76. Tom Watson soared from 74 to 83 _ his worst score ever at Augusta. Amateur Danny Lee played the first five holes after the turn at 10 over, including a quintuple-bogey 9 at the 10th.

“Obviously today is a lot more difficult,” said Todd Hamilton, the 2004 British Open champion who stayed in contention with a 70. “If you have no wind, the guys on the Tour are going to play very good. You throw in some wind with a tough setup golf course, that’s when you see some trying times.”

Campbell got off to the best start in Masters history Thursday, making birdies on the first five holes. He strung together four in a row on the back side, challenging the course record before bogeys at 17 and 18 left him with a 7-under 65.

He got off to another strong start Friday with birdies on two of the first four holes. He got to 11 under when a brilliant approach at No. 10 left him with a short birdie putt, vaulting him five strokes ahead of anyone in the field.

But Campbell ran into trouble in Amen Corner. He flubbed a chip at the 11th, leading to his first bogey of the day, and had another at the picturesque 12th. Things looked really grim when he bogeyed the 17th as well, but a 25-foot birdie on the final hole put him in a much better state of mind.

“I was a little unhappy with the way I played the back nine,” Campbell said. “A birdie on the last hole definitely

Gary Player and Fuzzy Zoeller won’t be back for the weekend.

Player went out for the final round of his Masters career, which has stretched to a record 52 appearances. Zoeller decided to call it quits on the 30th anniversary of winning at Augusta on his very first try.

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