Eaks leads after storm-delayed second round of 3M Championship

July 19, 2008
PGA TOUR staff

BLAINE, Minn. (AP) -- The only thing that slowed R.W. Eaks on Saturday was the weather.

Inside the Numbers
Eaks thru 36 Holes
Category Total Rank
Eagles 0 N/A
Birdies 17 1
Pars 18 T73
Bogeys 1 T69
Double Bogeys 0 N/A
Other 0 N/A
Driving Accuracy 85.7% T23
Driving Distance 292.5 yds. 19
Greens in Regulation 80.6% T13
Putts per Round 26.0 5
Putts per GIR 1.517 3
Sand Saves 0.0 T37

Eaks shot a 9-under 63 for a three-stroke lead over Gene Jones and Loren Roberts after the second round of the Champions Tour's 3M Championship.

Eaks has a 128 through two rounds, the best two-round score on Tour this year.

"I just kind of watched myself play golf today, I didn't worry about much," he said. "When I'm playing like this I don't think about the score, I just want to get to the next hole."

First-round leader Dana Quigley is four shots back at 12 under after shooting 70 at the TPC Twin Cities. Bernhard Langer (66) is at 11 under.

Severe weather halted play for nearly three hours, and tournament officials sent all spectators away, although a few came back.

"When the warning comes up for a tornado, it's wise for people to go home," said Hale Irwin, who shot a 66, and was joined by Gary Hallberg (68), Lonnie Nielsen (66) and Ron Streck (64) six shots behind. "Then it's sort of like playing in a vacuum."

The course received 1.25 inches of rain from the thunderstorms, softening greens for those that waited out the delay.

Eaks, who has one top-10 finish in 14 starts this year, went 6 under on his first 10 holes once play resumed to pull ahead. He also birdied No. 18 as darkness quickly closed in.

"You've got to hand it to the superintendent and the guys that got the course ready. We really didn't think we were going to play when it was raining pretty hard," he said.

Eaks is playing on knees that need to be replaced. He'd much rather walk, but rides in a cart for most of his round.

"Without the guys in the trailer working on me, I couldn't walk 50 feet," he said.

His medical issues have heavily contributed to his season struggles. Medication he took earlier in the year zapped his strength, and he'll soon wear knee braces with electrostimulation in them while sleeping to ease the pain.

"It's kind of changed my outlook on things, and my attitude on things," he said. "I want to be a full-time guy out here."

Roberts, who entered the tournament with a Tour-best 69.65 scoring average, shot a 65. This was his ninth-straight round in the 60s, the best streak on Tour this year.

He birdied four of his first six holes before the delay.

"I hit the ball awesome to start the day and could have easily made two more," he said. "I came back and hit the ball almost as good. I only missed one green today. Other than that I had birdie putts at every hole. There's not much more you can ask for."

Streck was preparing to hit from a bunker on 18 when play was halted. Instead, his post-storm shot went about 40 feet past the hole. He two-putted for par, which hurt him on the leaderboard. Of the five players ahead of him, four made birdies and Jones eagled the hole to finish his round of 67.

"The sand had all washed down, and I was on the side. It was like hitting off dirt," he said. "It would have been better had I got to play it" before the delay.

Irwin, a three-time tournament winner, birdied his first three holes en route to his 6-under score.

"It does feel a little bit like old times. I played tee to green very, very well over the past few days," he said. "I'll need to play at least the kind of round tomorrow like I did today, and perhaps make a few more putts."

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