Pernice Leads At Buick Open

Saturday, June 30th 2007, 5:42 pm
By: News On 6

GRAND BLANC, Mich. (AP) _ Tom Pernice Jr. shot a 6-under 66 Saturday in the third round of the Buick Open, putting his name atop a shuffled leaderboard.

Jesper Parnevik (64), former Oklahoma State standout Scott Verplank (69) and Brian Bateman (69) were a shot back entering the final round.

Former Buick Open champions Jim Furyk (71), Kenny Perry (71) and Woody Austin (69) were in a group of five players just two strokes behind Pernice.

After playing the first 12 holes even par, Pernice closed strong with an eagle at No. 13 and four straight birdies before finishing with a par to finish 6-under 66.

Pernice won his first of two PGA tour events at Warwick Hills in 1999, when he began the final round five shots behind Tom Lehman and beat him and two others by a stroke.

Parnevik made the big move Saturday, going from a tie for 46th into a tie for second with an 8 under. He had the best round _ by two strokes _ as Warwick Hills suddenly got tougher with firm greens and moderate winds.

Verplank, 12th on the money list, won the Byron Nelson two months ago and was in the top 10 in his three previous tournaments _ including a tie for 7th at the U.S. Open.

Bateman, 204th on the money list in his sixth season on the PGA Tour, has played in just nine tournaments this year after finishing just out of the top 125 last year.

While players such as Pernice and Parnevik joined the leaders, Brett Quigley plummeted a day after firing his caddie.

Quigley's 3-over 75 dropped him into a tie for 32nd at 7 under after starting the day tied with Furyk and Perry.

His play might've rubbed off on his playing partner, Furyk, who bogeyed two straight holes on the front nine by pulling a 4-footer and lipping out from 9 feet.

Furyk missed a 4-footer at 18 to bogey, finishing at 1 under for the day. His streak of rounds in the 60s at the Buick Open ended at eight, equaling Tiger Woods' tournament record, but he extended his run of sub-par rounds to 36 at Warwick Hills.

Quigley's collapse began right away.

He bogeyed the first three holes and four of five. At No. 9, his drive went behind trees and his third shot plugged in a bunker, setting up a double bogey. He made the turn at 5 over for the day and 5 under for the tournament _ seven shots behind the leaders.

Quigley, who hasn't won the PGA Tour, had the second-round lead last year at the Buick Open before a third-round 71 contributed to him finishing tied for seventh.

Woods (with his wife and baby) and Vijay Singh (resting a sore elbow) are not playing the Buick Open for the first time since 2001 after combining to win four of the previous five.