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Hayes, Funk Lead John Deere Classic

July 27, 2002

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SILVIS, Ill. (AP) _ J.P. Hayes shot a course-record 10-under-par 61 on Friday for a share of the second-round lead with Fred Funk in the John Deere Classic.

``It was a lot of fun,″ Hayes said after the lowest round of his PGA Tour career. ``I felt like I was going to play well, but you never expect something like that. The putter was the difference.″

Hayes broke the TPC of Deere Run record of 62 shared by Kirk Triplett, David Frost and Pat Bates. Triplett and Frost shot their 62s in 2000, the first year the event was played on the course, and Bates matched the mark Friday.

Funk, coming off a second-place finish last week in the B.C. Open, shot his second straight 64 to match Hayes at 14 under.

``I feel really good mainly coming off such a good week last week,″ said Funk, winless since the 1998 Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic. ``I really am hungry for a win and I want it really bad. I don’t want it too bad that I’m going to get in my own way.″

Robert Gamez was a stroke back after a 64, and 2001 runner-up Briny Baird (64) and Nolan Henke (65) followed at 11 under. Bates joined first-round leader Mike Heinen (69) in a five-player group at 10 under, and B.C. Open winner Spike McRoy (67) was 9 under.

Hayes, the 1998 Buick Classic winner, had 11 birdies and a bogey. He needed only 22 putts.

``You expect to have good greens and make a lot of putts in the morning rounds,″ Hayes aid. ``But, obviously, it doesn’t always work that way. But when you are putting well it doesn’t matter. You don’t see anything on the greens. You just see the line.″

He birdied five of the first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4-7, before dropping a stroke after hitting his approach shot into a bunker on the par-4 eighth.

After a par on No. 9, Hayes reeled off three straight birdies to reach 7 under for the round. He added birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 to put himself in position for a 59, but parred the par-5 17th after his 3-iron second shot kicked left and came to rest against the second cut of rough, leaving him with a difficult chip.

Hayes then finished with a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

``It was very low stress the last two days,″ he said. ``Yesterday I didn’t make a bogey. Today, I did make a bogey. But for the other 17 holes I really had very little stress. I hit a ton of greens and never really had, besides the eighth, never really had a putt for par that I didn’t think I was going to make.″

The 46-year-old Funk has hit 27 of 28 fairways and 35 of 36 greens in regulation in two bogey-free rounds.

``The course played a little bit longer than yesterday, but it’s still in really good shape,″ Funk said. ``So if you keep the ball in play, you’re going to have a lot of shots at birdie. The greens are receptive to really good shots and they’re still putting well.″

Divots: Brad Lardon aced the 187-yard seventh hole with a 5-iron He finished with a 68 to miss the cut by four strokes with a 143 total. ... Defending champion David Gossett was six strokes back after a 69. ... Three-time champion D.A. Weibring also missed the cut along with fellow former champions Michael Clark II, David Edwards, Ed Fiori, Curt Byrum and Mark Wiebe.

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