Justin Rose kept his driver in the bag for most of his round yesterday, and it turned out to be a wise choice.
The 25-year-old Englishman shot a 7-under-par 63 to take a four-stroke lead after two rounds of the Buick Championship in Cromwell, Conn.
Bogey-free through 36 holes, Rose played himself into contention for his first PGA Tour win, moving to 12-under 128, his lowest two-round total of the year.
Former British Open champion and first-round co-leader Ben Curtis (68) and Kevin Sutherland (67) are tied for second at 8 under. Dean Wilson (66) and Chris Smith (67) are five strokes off the lead.
Rose teed off in the afternoon, just as the fairways were firming up on the 6,820-yard TPC at River Highlands. He opted for his 3-wood and 5-wood off the tee on the back nine.
"It got pretty hot, so the ball was going a long way," Rose said. "I managed to pull back, leave the driver in the bag and put it in play."
Rose, who has won four times in international play, has not finished better than third on the PGA Tour. He's been in the last group three times in tour events heading into a Saturday, including last year's Masters.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Gil Morgan used an eagle, six birdies and an adventurous par on the last hole to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the Tradition in Aloha, Ore.
Morgan finished with an 8-under 64 for a two-round total of 11-under 133 in the tour's final major of the year.
Tom Jenkins was two shots back at 9-under 135 after a 69. Mark McNulty had a 65 and was tied at 8 under with Loren Roberts (69).
* LPGA TOUR: Soo Yun Kang overcame a triple bogey to shoot her second consecutive 6-under 66 and move into a tie for the lead with defending champion Catriona Matthew at the Wendy's Championship for Children in Dublin, Ohio.
For the second day in a row the field took advantage of soft greens to put up record low scores. The cut of 3-under 141 matched the lowest in LPGA history. Fourteen players broke par through 36 holes but won't play on the weekend.
Kang and Matthew, who also put up a second straight 66, were at 132, a shot ahead of Karrie Webb, who had a 66 of her own. Annika Sorenstam, finding her stride after a two-week layoff, was four strokes back after a 67.
* U.S. AMATEUR: Austin Eaton III won three of his last four holes and beat U.S. Walker Cup team member Anthony Kim, 4 and 2, to advance to the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
In other quarterfinals, Italy's Edoardo Molinari advanced with a 6-and-4 win over South Africa's Dawie Van Der Walt; J.C. Deacon defeated Mark Leon, 2 and 1, in an all-Canadian match; and Dillon Dougherty beat Kent State senior Ryan Yip, 4 and 2.