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Archive for Sunday, June 1, 2003

Music City Championship Ahern leads in Nashville

June 1, 2003

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— Jim Ahern shot a 9-under 63 Saturday to take a six-stroke lead after the second round of the Champions Tour's Music City Championship.

After opening the 54-hole tournament with a 64, Ahern played even better Saturday and had a chance at a 59, the first on the Champions Tour, if he had birdied the final three holes -- all par-4s on the Springhouse Golf Club course.

Ahern, whose lone victory on the 50-and-over tour was in 1999, barely missed a birdie putt on 16th as it grazed the left side of the hole. He missed another birdie try at 18 when his putt went three feet past the hole, and then missed that short one.

He finished with a bogey, his first of the tournament. A 62 would have tied the tournament record held by Dave Stockton (1994) and Isao Aoki (1998), but the 63 is a career best.

"It was the best golfing day I have ever had," Ahern said. "I putted so good it was amazing. It was just one of those days."

Jose Maria Canizares, whose son Alejandro won the individual NCAA golf championship as a freshman at Arizona State Friday, tied for second with Rodger Davis at 11 under. Canizares shot a 65, and Davis had a 66.

"Jim has played fantastic golf today," Canizares said. "It's difficult to catch a guy playing like that. You'll have to shoot 61 or 62 and Jim maybe shoots a 71 or 72."

Tom Jenkins (67) and Jim Holtgrieve (65) were 10 under, Hugh Baiocchi (67) was 9 under, and five players were tied at 7 under. R.W. Eaks, Ed Dougherty, course designer Larry Nelson, Morris Hatalsky and J.C. Snead were 10 strokes behind the leader.

Hatalsky set a Champions Tour record with 98 straight holes with no bogeys when he finished the first hole Saturday. His bogey on the par-4 second was his first since the second round of the Bayer Advantage Invitational three weeks ago.

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