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May 27 2010

6:00 PM

New caddy, driver aid Overton

A new caddy and a new driver have helped fuel a hot streak that has seen Jeff Overton post two runner-up finishes in his last four starts.

Eric Larson, who has caddied for Mark Calcavecchia and Anthony Kim, is now toting Overton's bag. He's also playing with the TaylorMade SuperFast driver, which Overton says has added about 15 yards off the tee.

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"I gained four and a half miles per hour my ball speed," he said. "It enables me to get my ball down there within 100 yards and really take advantage of some of these par 4s. I was able to do that today.

"I hit a bunch of good iron shots and just been riding that wave.  It's been great."

Thursday's result was a 63 that left Overton in a tie for the lead with Jason Bohn. He birdied seven of his last 11 holes and shot 29 on the back nine -- the best score on that segment since Greg Kraft came up with the same number in 1999.

Overton broke 70 in all four rounds last year, which was his first appearance at the Crowne Plaza Invitational, as he tied for 13th. His low score prior to Thursday was the third-round 65 last season.

"I love the golf course," Overton said. "It's a great place. ... The place sets up very well for my game.  Especially somebody hits a high draw, a lot of the holes set up very nicely for that. ...The greens are just perfect.  I love greens that really roll well, and you hit good shots and you are going to get rewarded because the greens are nice."

As well as he finished, though, Overton started slowly on Thursday -- even though the hot, humid conditions were ripe for scoring.

Overton hit his opening drive 315 yards into the middle of the fairway, but put his second in a greenside bunker and couldn't get up and down to take advantage of the par 5. A wedge in his hands at No. 2 produced a 12-foot birdie putt but again, he couldn't convert.

Overton hung tough, though, and that 7-footer for par at the seventh hole was clutch.  He followed with a 7-iron to 5 feet at No. 8 and the floodgates finally opened.

"I'm just, c'mon, man, the course, if there's ever a time it's there to be had today," Overton recalled. "After missing a few 10, 12 footers for birdie, the next thing I knew I made a good one off the back fringe on 10 and stuck a 5 iron in there on 11, after hitting it in the trees.

"It was, you know, it was one of those things that everything kind of clicked and it went together like a puzzle almost." 

To replay Overton's round on Shot Tracker, click here .

JEFF OVERTON'S ROUND 1 STATISTICS

Driving distance Fairways hit Greens in regulation Putts needed Sand saves
283.4 yards 7 of 14 14 of 18 25 0 of 1
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