Birdies boost a surprising twosome to 3M lead

  • Article by: BRIAN STENSAAS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 4, 2012 - 9:22 PM

David Peoples sank 10 birdies and bolted to a three-shot lead in a record round of 62. Eduardo Romero also played a hot hand in taking over second.

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He's far from the people's favorite. Yet David Peoples put on the best show for the 3M Championship gallery Saturday afternoon.

He was three shots behind the leaders to begin Round 2 at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, then birdied six consecutive holes on the front nine and added four more on the back for a second-round record 10-under-par 62. It bumped his tournament total to 14-under 130, three ahead of Eduardo Romero and four better than Senior Players Championship winner Joe Daley with 18 holes to play.

The last time Peoples slept on the lead heading into a final round of a tournament was the 1990 Buick Southern Open. He finished fourth.

"I'll be a nervous wreck, I'm sure," Peoples said.

If he can play the way he did Saturday there is little to worry about.

Peoples put himself into position to score with solid iron shots all round. Of his 10 birdies, only one rolled in from farther than 10 feet.

"It was very matter-of-fact," said playing partner Joey Sindelar. "It wasn't like he made everything or was hitting bombs. Just a very solid round of golf and he deserves it for sure."

After the six consecutive birdies -- which tied a Champions Tour season best and the most in 20 years of the 3M -- Peoples began to let his mind wander.

He's in the field only because as the first alternate he was moved in when Russ Cochran pulled out because of a bad back early in the week.

Peoples sits 90th on the Champions Tour money list and hasn't won a tournament since the 1992 Anheuser-Busch Classic -- a span of 353 total starts on the PGA and Champions tours.

"Every birdie I made I became more aware of it," he said. "But with the putter, it was ridiculous. It began to feel easy. Hit every one well. It's pretty rare when that happens."

The only poor decision came on a "nervy flinch" second shot on the difficult ninth hole. He roped a 9-iron shot into the gallery, yet got up and down for a par.

It hardly fazed Peoples. He went on to make a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10, his longest of the day.

"You don't expect to shoot a round like that," Peoples said. "Every break went my way."

Playing in his first 3M Championship, Romero likewise had luck working in his favor. He birdied the first three holes, made three more in a row on the back nine in a round of 65 and if not for a "stupid" 3-foot par miss on No. 16 would have turned in a clean card.

"I've been waiting for this round," Romero said. "I hit the ball fantastic. Straight and long. Unbelievable."

Following an inch of overnight rainfall, Saturday was another day of mostly low scores. But the biggest names on the tour are not near the top. The four first-round leaders all struggled, none posting better than 1 under in the second round.

Bernhard Langer, one of seven players at 8 under for the tournament, and course co-designer Tom Lehman (6 under) are the only top-10 money list members inside the top 16 heading into the final round.

Lehman called his second-round 70 "embarrassing."

"Not real pleased with anything that happened," he groused. Lehman was particularly peeved about his eagle putt on No. 18 that, he said, appeared to have backspin.

Peoples had no such emotion; at times he showed a wry grin when shaking his head in disbelief after the round. If he can keep his nerves in check Sunday many more smiles are a given.

"[I] have to stay aggressive," he said. "You can't control what anyone else does, just pick your target and try to trust it."

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