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Woodland ties Vegas at Hope Classic

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Gary Woodland played basketball for a season at Division II Washburn University, and the 6-foot guard still describes a 30-point loss to his beloved Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse as the biggest thrill of his life.

If he keeps hitting his shots at the Bob Hope Classic this weekend, Woodland might have an even bigger achievement in his backup career.

Woodland shot an 8-under 64 on Friday to join Jhonattan Vegas in the lead after three rounds in the 90-hole tournament on four Palm Springs-area courses.

Woodland made five straight birdies on the front nine at the Nicklaus Private course, with only a missed 10-foot putt keeping him from stringing together seven in a row. He added three birdies on the back nine to claim his first lead after any round in 28 PGA Tour events while putting up the best 54-hole score of his career.

Not bad for a guy who didn't get serious about golf until putting his hoop dreams to rest.

"I learned how to play the game over the last year and a half," Woodland said. "I've got great people around me, great people mentoring me, and I'm starting to get there. I'm not anywhere close to where I want to be, but I'm on that road right now."

After a year at Washburn, the Kansas native transferred to KU in 2003 to get serious about golf. But as a multisport athlete growing up, he embraced the grip-it-and-rip-it school of golf until learning how to harness his athleticism on tour.

"There's a lot of guys out here that know how to play this game," Woodland said. "I could probably beat them on the basketball court, but out here, for a year and a half, I was getting my butt kicked."

Vegas also maintained his steady play in his fifth PGA Tour event with a 67 -- the first bogey-free round of his career -- on the Silver Rock course, keeping a share of the lead for the second straight day. Australia's Greg Chalmers (65) was a stroke back at 17-under 199.

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Cochran goes low with 62

KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii -- Russ Cochran had two eagles and six birdies in a career-best 10-under 62 to take the first-round lead in the Champions Tour's season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

The 52-year-old left-hander, a two-time winner last season, was near-perfect in his bogey-free round on a defenseless day at Hualalai. He had a two-stroke lead over defending champion Tom Watson and Ben Crenshaw. Former Crag Burn pro Lonnie Nielsen had an opening-round 70.

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