Verplank pushes to 3-shot lead with back-nine surge at Disney

Updated: November 7, 2008, 8:45 PM ET
Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Scott Verplank shot his second straight 8-under 64 Friday to take a three-stroke lead in the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disney, the final official PGA Tour event of the season.

Verplank, who sank a 60-foot putt on 14 for an eagle 3, which came among five back-nine birdies, has suddenly found his putting stroke and hinted his round could have been better in what he called perfect playing conditions.

Children's Miracle Network
Classic Leaderboard

1. Verplank (-16)
T-2. Marino (-13)
T-2. Matteson (-13)
T-4. Garrigus (-12)
T-4. Gamez (-12)
T-4. Ridings (-12)

• Complete scores

"I stayed out too late at the parks last night with my kids, so I was a little lethargic when we started," said Verplank, who has made a tournament-record 13 straight cuts. "My equilibrium was off, and then something happened where I fell into a zone and didn't know where I was."

Steve Marino (66) and Troy Matteson (68) were tied for second, but the real drama was at the bottom of the standings.

Friday was cut day in the event that ends the race for spots in the top 125 on the final money list, the cutoff for full 2009 PGA Tour.

"A guy from the PGA just told me I'm projected at 125," said Brad Adamonis, who birdied the last hole to finish 1 under but missed the cut. "I probably won't look at the standings until the tournament is over. At least that's my plan. I'd probably throw up if I did."

Whether he comes in at 125 depends on what happens this weekend with the players behind him who made the cut at 5 under.

Bob Tway, who played with Verplank and shot a 62 after a first-round 73, made the cut and needs to finish in the top 12 to make the top 125. Tway, ranked 131st, and Verplank combined for 20 birdies on the Palm Course on Friday.

Erik Compton, who's had two heart transplants and got a sponsor exemption, shot a 68 and made the cut by two strokes. He'll play in the second round of Q-school next week, only six months after his second transplant.

Tway still holds the course record of 61 at the Lake Buena Vista course, where the tournament was formerly held.

Adamonis played with his own private gallery -- his parents, wife and aunt and uncle. They groaned when he hit his tee shot into the water on 14 and cheered when he birdied 18.

David Adamonis, a Miami-area golf coach who has fought prostate, lymphoma, lung and throat cancer the last three years, toted his son's bag the last two holes.

"He made mistakes he wouldn't normally make," David Adamonis said. "I told him to just play and what happened, happened. Sometimes self-imposed pressure doesn't help."

Some of the players who lose their cards will go back to Q-school. Those who've won tournaments, or have some notoriety, such as 2002 PGA Championship winner Rich Beem, likely will rely on sponsorship exemptions.

Mike Allen, who has made it through nine Q-schools, shot a 67 to make the cut at 137. He feels confident about his chances, and with the experience of 13 trips to the final round of the Q-school, he's not easily fazed.

"People say a guy can shoot a 63 without even trying, drinking the whole round," Allen said. "Well, let's see him go out and shoot that round when it counts."

Allen, whose buddy at Mesa (Ariz.) Country Club placed a sign on his locker proclaiming Allen "the Q-school all-time money winner," said he can relax a bit now that he made the cut.

"Otherwise I was toast," said Allen, 49, who can qualify for the Champions Tour in January. "I made the cut, so I have a lot of control over my own destiny right now."

Verplank was tied for the two-day tournament record before a bogey on 18. The record of 17 under is held by Chris DiMarco, Carl Petterson and Justin Rose.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE