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CHAMP News: Steve Stricker launches into lead at Furyk & Friends

Steve Stricker blistered the Timuquana Country Club course at Jacksonville, Fla., with an 8-under-par 64 on Saturday and will hold the lead heading into the final round of the Constellation Furyk & Friends.

Stricker built a three-shot lead at 11-under 133 as Canada’s Mike Weir (68 on Saturday) and host Jim Furyk (69) are tied for second place at 8 under.

Another shot back tied for fourth place are Thongchai Jaidee (65) of Thailand and Lee Janzen (68).

Formerly a one-day charity exhibition, the Furyk & Friends was elevated to a regular Champions event last year. Furyk tied for fourth last year and was tied for the lead after Friday’s opening round.

Stricker, who is in search of his fourth victory of the season, was 5 under over his final six holes Saturday while setting a tournament record with his 64. It also matched Stricker’s low round of the season.

“Just keep grinding it out, keep plugging way,” Stricker said. “You never know when a run like that’s going to happen. There’s still birdie opportunities here, don’t get me wrong. I mean, it’s set up fair, but you have to drive it in the fairway and be able to control your ball from the fairway.”

After a birdie at the par-5 13th hole and another at the par-3 14th, Stricker made his biggest statement with an eagle at the par-5 15th when he dropped a 20-foot putt to become the first in the field to reach double-digits under par.

After another birdie at No. 16, Stricker closed with consecutive pars.

“It was a good day obviously anytime you can shoot 8 under,” Stricker said. “Just managed my game well on the front nine, no bogeys at all today, but (I was) 3 under at the turn. Missed a birdie opportunity at 10, but then starting at 13, I put a little run together there that just made all the difference.”

Weir’s round included five birdies on the front nine, but he also had two bogeys, including one at No. 16 before he closed with back-to-back pars.

“I got on a run there on the front nine, hit some close shots,” Weir said. “On the back nine I felt like I could have got on another run, but sometimes they go in and they don’t. It will be tough to catch (Stricker) tomorrow.”

With all eyes on the tournament host, Furyk made the turn at 1 under for the day. He added birdies at Nos. 13 and 15 before a bogey at the 16th hole. Furyk closed his round with a birdie at the par-4 18th hole.

“Today was a little bit more textbook, kind of kept it in the fairway a lot,” Furyk said after shooting a 67 on Friday. “I hit a bunch of greens. When I did miss greens, I put the ball usually in pretty good positions to get the ball up and down. Really, I was more comfortable if that made sense.”

–Field Level Media

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