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GOLF Herron in the zone to tie for Hope lead



Published: Tue, February 4, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



He's tied with Stephen Ames after three rounds of competition.

LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) -- Tim Herron, putter in hand, was in the zone.

"Today, I just kind of had it. The hole looked like a bucket," Herron said Friday after his 11-under-par 61 tied him with Stephen Ames for the Bob Hope Classic lead. "It's my lowest score ever. I've had three 62s.

"I had no idea, really, what I shot today. I was just trying to make every putt I looked at."

Herron, a three-time winner since coming onto the tour in 1996, began on the back nine at PGA West and birdied his first three holes, including rolling in a 40-foot putt on the 207-yard, par-3 No. 12.

He was 5 under after his first nine holes, then made six birdie putts, the longest a 15-footer, on the back nine for a 30 as he shot the third 61 of the tournament.

He and Ames, who had a 64, were at 22-under 194 after 54 holes in the five-day event.

Herron's 11-under round came a day after Jay Haas and Pat Perez had 61s.

Perez off pace

Haas, the 1988 Hope champion, had a third-round 67 and was just a shot behind the co-leaders. Perez, however, had a 70 that dropped him six strokes off the pace and into a group at 16-under.

The 32-year-old Herron is looking for his first win since taking the Bay Hill Invitational in 1999. His other victories came in the 1996 Honda Classic and the 1997 Texas Open.

He tied for 56th last week in Phoenix, and tied for 40th in the Sony Open the previous week.

Ames, who joined the tour full-time in 1988 and is still winless, keyed his round with accurate iron play, sticking the ball within 10 feet of the pin six times. He also was pleased with his putting.

Both Mike Weir and Rod Pampling had 65s that left them at 20 under.

David Gossett shot a 9-under 62 at Indian Wells, another of the four courses used for the first four days of the tournament.

Far back

Defending champion Phil Mickelson, far back in the pack after shooting a 70 the first day and a 68 the second, had a third-round 63 to go to 15-under.

He played at Indian Wells, where Frank Lickliter II and Chris Riley also had 63s.

Lickliter went to 16-under and Riley to 15-under.

David Duval, who won the 1999 Hope by shooting a tour record-tying 59 on the final day, shot a third-round 68 this time and will need an extremely low score on the fourth day to make the cut. He shot 78 the second day and is at 211.




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