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FUNK SIZZLES TO FIVE-STROKE LEAD AT B.C. OPEN

As Fred Funk made his way into the interview room Saturday, Brad Faxon smiled and squirted water at him. Funk dodged the spray, but trying to cool him off wasn't such a bad idea.

Funk had just finished shooting a sizzling 11-under-par 61 to surge to a five-stroke lead over Faxon and Rory Sabbatini after two rounds at the B.C. Open.

Funk, who began the day four shots behind Stephen Ames, carded five birdies on the back nine to start the day and had six more on the front side, including the last three to tie the course record and give him a two-round total of 131.

Funk's focus was so precise during the best round in his 15 years on the PGA Tour that he had seven straight 3s during one stretch.

"It was a strange day as far as hitting it close so many times," said Funk, who started the day by two-putting from 15 feet on No. 10. "I was inside two paces of the hole an awful lot of times. I was conscious of it."

Funk's round tied the previous course record set by Hal Sutton in 1995, when the En-Joie Golf Club course was a par 71. It has since been redone and par is now 72.

Funk knows today (3 p.m., ESPN) will present a stiff challenge because the 66 golfers who made the cut will play 36 holes.

"I know (Sunday) anything can happen," Funk said. "If I can make 11 birdies in the two rounds, that should be good enough. But it's going to be a long day, so I've got to pace myself.

Tournament officials made the decision to play two rounds today after an early morning fog held up the start of Saturday's play for 45 minutes, wiping out plans to start the third round in late afternoon.

Around the links

Hale Irwin, the Senior PGA Tour's leading money-winner, had seven birdies and an eagle in a course-record 63 and was one of six players tied for the lead after two rounds of the Bank One Championship in Dallas. Tied with Irwin at 10-under 134 going into today's final round (5 p.m., ESPN) were Tom Watson, Gil Morgan, David Graham, Jim Colbert and first-round leader Albert Giannone. . . . Rachel Hetherington shot a 7-under 65 in the third round of the $650,000 LPGA's Safeco Classic in Kent, Wash. Her 13-under 203 total was one better than Catriona Matthew. . . . Miguel Angel Jimenez stands at 11-under-par 202 and has a one-stroke lead over Pierre Fulke going into the final round of the Lancome Trophy in Saint-nom La-Breteche, France.

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