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April 2 2011

7:38 PM

Verplank stays hot at Redstone

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Scott Verplank is making just his fourth start of the year.

Phil Mickelson has stolen the headlines on a barn-burning day at Redstone, but veteran Scott Verplank is the hottest player on the course right now.

The 46-year-old, who hasn't won since the 2007 HP Byron Nelson Championship, is 5 under for the day after an eagle-birdie run around the turn.

Verplank jarred his approach ( watch it here ) on the par-4 10th, then hit it stiff on the 11th to get to 11 under, one shot back of Mickelson. Verplank is near last in the field in driving distance - only 280 yards a pop -- but he's first in the field in putts per GIR (1.543.).

Verplank has shown that he can still win on TOUR. He lost a playoff last year at the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands when Bubba Watson beat him. That victory would have gotten him back to the Masters, where he tied for 18th in 2010. This season, he's been plagued by left wrist pain, which has bothered him off and on for years.

If Verplank keeps it up, he has one more shot at getting into Augusta National, and it's a good one.

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