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Golf | Champions Tour

Rocco Mediate © Gallo Images

Roc solid at Allianz



Rocco Mediate shot an 11-under 61, setting a course record and building a three-shot lead over Tom Pernice Jr. heading into the final round of the Allianz Championship on Saturday.

Mediate is trying to become the 16th player to win his first start on the Champions Tour. He won six times on the PGA Tour and is probably best remembered for losing a playoff to Tiger Woods in the 2008 US Open.

Mediate had five consecutive birdies on the front nine, highlighted by a drive to the green at the par-4 seventh hole. He added three more birdies after the turn and closed with a birdie at the 17th and a 10-foot eagle at the 18th.

It was the lowest round of Mediate's career, one better than his 62 at Colonial in 2001, and it snapped the tournament record of 63 set by Craig Stadler in 2007.

Mediate's total of 128 through two rounds was three better than the 36-hole mark of 131 shared by Tim Simpson and Tommy Armour III.

"It has to be my best round I've played in a long time," Mediate said. "Obviously, it was my lowest. I haven't made that many putts in a long, long time. Feeling that again was cool. I haven't felt that in a while."

Pernice also had a strong day on the Old Course at Broken Sound, posting a 65 after beginning the day in a tie for the lead.

He lost ground in his pursuit of his second Champions Tour title, but he said he wasn't discouraged.

"Rocco shot 61, he should be leading," said Pernice, who was the last player to win his first start on the Champions Tour in 2009.

"It wasn't that easy out there. I'm happy with where I'm at. I've got a chance tomorrow. That's why we play three days, not two."

Mediate stayed aggressive after the run of five consecutive birdies, and he said that was the key to his 61. He said he will have to continue that approach in the final round.

"You can't let down or take it off the pedal out here," he said. "You have to go crazy from the start to the finish, or you can't win. I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, but I just want to keep putting myself in contention."

Pernice knows he won't be the crowd favourite in the final round, but he's fine with that. He even agrees with it.

"It's nice to see him playing well," Pernice said of Mediate. "He's very entertaining, a great guy and he's going to be a great addition to the tour."

Bernhard Langer, who won here in 2010, shot a 67 and is five back at 11-under 133. David Frost (65) is alone in fourth at 135.

LEADING SECOND-ROUND SCORES (US unless stated)

128 – Rocco Mediate 67 61

131 – Tom Pernice Jr. 66 65

133 – Bernhard Langer (GER) 66 67

135David Frost (RSA) 70 65

136 – Larry Mize 69 67, Mark O'Meara 69 67, Fred Funk 67 69, Corey Pavin 67 69

137 – John Huston 68 69, Bart Bryant 67 70

138 – Bob Tway 71 67, Jay Don Blake 72 66, Peter Senior (AUS) 69 69, John Cook 68 70, Michael Allen 68 70

139 – Willie Wood 71 68, Steve Jones 70 69, Kirk Triplett 69 70, Larry Nelson 69 70, Jim Gallagher, Jr. 68 71

140 – Olin Browne 71 69, Russ Cochran 70 70, Esteban Toledo (MEX) 70 70, Jim Thorpe 71 69, Mark McNulty (IRL) 70 70, Duffy Waldorf 74 66, Scott Simpson 67 73

141 – Peter Jacobsen 71 70, Jeff Sluman 71 70, Steve Pate 72 69, Kenny Perry 70 71, Hale Irwin 72 69, Joe Daley 69 72, Andrew Magee 70 71, Joel Edwards 73 68, Brad Faxon 69 72, Jay Haas 73 68, Mark Mouland (WAL) 68 73, Tom Lehman 68 73

Report courtesy www.pgatour.com

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