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Stricker doesn't let his ace go to waste at Memorial

By Associated Press


DUBLIN, Ohio » On a course with such a fine line between birdies and bogeys, Steve Stricker settled for perfection Friday in the Memorial with a hole-in-one that put him in control at Muirfield Village.

Stricker used a 6-iron on the 188-yard eighth hole — his 17th hole of the second round — then birdied his final hole for a 5-under 67. Instead of being part of a five-way tie for the lead, he wound up three shots clear going into the weekend.

"It's a shock when you see that go in, obviously, but in a good way," Stricker said. "A great way to finish the round."

Stricker said the eighth hole has given him fits over the years, which is just as well. So has this tournament. In 11 previous appearances at the tournament Jack Nicklaus created, Stricker never has finished in the top 10.

He is hoping to change that, and shots like his ace certainly help.

Stricker was at 9-under 135, three shots clear of Rory McIlroy (72), Ricky Barnes (70), Jonathan

McIlroy already has made 13 birdies over two rounds, proof enough that he's swinging well and making his share of putts. He also has five bogeys and a sloppy double bogey Friday on the 14th hole, when he pulled his tee shot into the tiny stream left of the fairway and nearly went into the water on his next shot.

"I felt as if I played good enough to shoot something in the 60s, but I just made too many mistakes out there," McIlroy said.

Luke Donald, in his debut as the No. 1 player in the world, had another strong rally by finishing with back-to-back birdies for a 69 that left him at 5-under 139.

Wie 6 back at ShopRite

Third-ranked Jiyai Shin shot a 5-under 66 to a take a one-stroke lead over playing partner Sandra Gal of Germany after the wind-whipped first round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic at Galloway Township, N.J.

Hawaii's Michelle Wie overcame five consecutive bogeys in the middle of her round to finish 1-over 72.

Wie birdied holes Nos. 2 and 6 to go 2-under before the bogey blues hit her. The Punahou graduate and Stanford student bogeyed Nos. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 to go 3-over. She birdied No. 13 and 18 to finish with a 38-34.

Brooks leads Calcavecchia

Mark Brooks battled through hot, breezy conditions to shoot a 6-under 65 for a two-stroke lead over Mark Calcavecchia and Peter Senior in the Principal Charity Classic at West Des Moines, Iowa. Brooks, a Champions Tour rookie who turned 50 on March 25, holed a 60-foot birdie putt on the par-5 17th hole.

Noren 1 up on McDowell

Sweden's Alexander Noren shot a 4-under 67 in windy conditions to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Graeme McDowell in the Wales Open at Newport, Wales. Noren had an 8-under 134 total on Celtic Manor's Twenty Ten Course, the site of the Ryder Cup last year. McDowell, the U.S. Open champion and Ryder Cup star, followed his opening 67 with a 68.

Augusta St. in NCAA semis

Defending champion Augusta State will face top-ranked Oklahoma State in the NCAA Men's Golf Championships semifinals in a rematch of the title match last year. Augusta State beat Georgia Tech 3-2 on Friday, the Oklahoma State advanced with a 3-1-1 victory over Ohio State on the Cowboys' home course at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

Duke will play Georgia in the other semifinal. The Blue Devils upset stroke-play winner UCLA 3-1-1, and Georgia topped Illinois, also 3-1-1.

Finau tied for 16th

Tony Finau, who represents Turtle Bay Resort, shot 1-under-par 70 Friday at River Hills Country Club and is tied for 16th place at the eGolf Tour's River Hills Classic, which is being held at Lake Wylie, S.C., and Charlotte, N.C. Finau is at 6-under 208, 10 shots behind leader Brice Garnett, who is at 16-under 198 after a 4-under 67 Friday.

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