Golf

Herron on record-setting pace at Bob Hope Classic

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LA QUINTA, California

Tim Herron has golf all figured out, at least for the time being. "You've just got to stay positive and notice some of the people around you that are positive golfers," Herron said Saturday after his 7-under-par 65 gave him a four-stroke lead in the Bob Hope Classic. "That's kind of like, `One more round and I'm playing well.' And when you're playing well, it's actually a fun sport," Herron added with a chuckle. Herron, the roly-poly player who shot a 61 the third day, went to 29 under through four rounds of the five-day tournament. His 259 total tied the 72-hole Hope record set two years ago by , who went on to win at 324, a 36-under total that stands as a PGA Tour low for a 90-hole event. , the 1988 Hope champion, and Canada's were tied for second at 263. The 49-year-old Haas, who had his own 61 during the second round, shot a 68. Weir had a 67. Asked what would be a safe lead in what is traditionally a very low-scoring tournament, Herron said, "Well, had a 59 on the last day to win it (in 1999), so maybe 10 shots would be a safe lead. "One good thing about this tournament is you've got to keep going. I made a few mistakes today but I just kind of kept plugging. Hopefully I can keep that mind-set throughout my career." Herron smiled and said, "Or at least through the next month." and both had 66s and were five shots off the lead. Stephen Ames, tied with Herron for the third-round lead, had a 71 that dropped him six shots back. Haas, who has won nine times on the tour but not since 1993, likes his position heading into the final round. "I'm just pleased even to have an outside chance," said Haas, who was in front heading into the final day a year ago but shot a 74 to tie for 16th. "Hopefully I can learn from last year and not step on my chin or whatever." Players with scores higher than 13-under 275 were cut from Sunday's final round. Among those missing the cut was 1999 champion , who was at 278. He had a fourth-round 67, but couldn't overcome a 78 he shot on the second day. , the 2000 Hope winner, had a fourth-round 70 that also put him at 278. Herron, following up his 11-under round, got off to a slow start by flubbing a chip shot and taking a bogey on the first hole of the fourth round. He missed birdie tries from 15 feet and closer and had pars on the next three holes before finally zeroing in on the cup. He rolled in a curling 10-foot birdie putt on the 517-yard, par-5 fifth at Indian Wells Country Club, made a 15-footer on the par-3 sixth, a 2-footer on No. 7, then another short putt on No. 8 for his fourth consecutive birdie. Herron continued on the back nine with another 25-footer on the 10th green. He went on to sink an uphill 15-footer on No. 13, and an 8-footer at No. 14 before he drilled a 50-footer into the center of the cup on No. 16. The 32-year-old Herron has three wins since joining the tour in 1996, but he hasn't won since the Bay Hill Invitational in 1999. He tied for 56th last week in Phoenix, and tied for 40th in the Sony Open the previous week. A 5-foot-10, 230-pounder known as Lumpy, Herron opened the Hope with a 69, then moved near the lead with a second-round 64 before his 11-under round tied him with Ames for the third-round lead. The 32-year-old Weir has won three times, including the Tour Championship in 2001, when he finished 11th on the money list with $2.78 million. Last year, however, he had no top 10 finishes and slipped to 78th on the money list with 843,891. Pros are paired with amateurs the first four days of the Hope, with the 70 low-scoring pros and ties playing the final round at PGA West. Three other courses also were used during the first four days of the Chrysler-sponsored event.

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