Howell stretches lead at PGA Tour RSM Classic


Coming from a missed cut in Mexico to a tournament where he missed the cut past year, the American kept bogeys off his card for the second straight day and was just as good Friday on the tougher scoring course at Sea Island.

Howell, a two-time US PGA Tour victor but chasing his first title in more than a decade, kept the accelerator down on the par-70 Seaside course, a day after nabbing eight birdies on the par-72 Plantation course.

Howell didn't make enough birdies Saturday to do much of anything except post a 2-under 68 and keep his name atop the leaderboard at the RSM Classic, even if only by one shot over PGA Tour rookie Cameron Champ and part-time insurance salesman Jason Gore. Gore birdied his last four holes for a 63.

Gore was headed to Pebble Beach for an mixed invitational event until getting word that he was in the RSM Classic.

Howell was at 16-under 194 as he tries to end 332 starts on the PGA Tour without winning.

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"It also makes me have a lot of respect for guys that have found out ways to win a bunch". Gore is a part-time insurance salesman and part-time comedian who still loves the chance to compete. I've got a real job now and all that good stuff. Gore plays a lot of golf with clients, and it restored some of the fun in the game that beat him up over the years.

Howell can't think of a better two days striking the ball, evidenced by missing only two fairways and two greens over 36 holes, both of those on Friday at Seaside. I'm going to show up. "On top of that, I've been making the putts".

"I've nearly done everything in my career, but playing with a lead isn't one thing I've really done a whole lot", said Howell, whose last victory came in the 2007 Nissan Open at Riviera Country Club near Los Angeles.

"I'm playing well so I know that at that point I feel like you have 12, 13 holes left, there's plenty of birdie opportunities, especially on the back side", said Champ, who finished with a 66 on Day 3 to move to 15 under par. He also hits it harder than anyone Howell has ever seen.