Verplank, Rose tied for lead

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THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. (AP) – The first question Scott Verplank was asked dealt with his final hole of the day – and lone bogey in the tournament.

“I only had one screw-up in two days, and you want to know about that first,” Verplank said, shaking his head and chuckling after his 6-under 66 was good for a share of the lead through two rounds of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Verplank’s second shot on his closing hole Thursday found water, but his round was still good enough to tie Justin Rose at the top of the leaderboard at 12 under.

Rose holed a pair of bunker shots on his way to a 65. Verplank began the day on the back nine at the Classic Club, one of four courses used for the first four rounds. By the time he was ready to wrap it up on No. 9, he held a one-shot lead over Rose, who already had finished. But Verplank’s second shot, out of the rough on the 595-yard, par-5 ninth, wound up wet.

“It just didn’t come out like I thought it was going to, and it was a little bit right of where I was aiming. It hit the hill and overran and went into the water,” he said. “I dropped the ball into a bad lie and I hit another bad shot.

“At that point, I was just ready to get done. The only thing that made me mad was how I left this 30-foot putt for par about 5 feet short. I was not happy about that.”

The 42-year-old Verplank, who tied for second last year, said that because there are three rounds to go, he didn’t spend much time looking at the leaderboard during the second round this time.

“I looked over there one time and saw that I was right there around the lead or in the lead or whatever. I just told my caddie to get the camera out and take a picture and we’ll go from there,” Verplank said, grinning.

Rose, who tied for 10th in the 2006 tournament, knocked in his bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5, 516-yard fifth at La Quinta Country Club.

He duplicated that shot with another out of the sand for a birdie on the par-3, 202-yard 12th.

“I obviously was very pleased with the way I played,” he said.

He agreed with Verplank that being in front after the second day isn’t very significant in the Hope.

“I don’t think you can get too excited about 36 holes in a 72-hole tournament, let alone – I don’t even know how many holes it is,” Rose said. “Ninety, is it?”

First-round leader Robert Allenby followed his opening 63 with a 70 and was tied for third at 11 under with tour rookie Johnson Wagner.

Phil Mickelson, in his first event of the year, bogeyed the last two holes and shot his second consecutive 70, leaving him eight shots behind the leaders.

“I’m enjoying it, and I’m starting to hit some good shots,” said Mickelson, the tournament champion in 2002 and 2004. “I just haven’t scored.

“I think that’s the last piece to come around after a long layoff, getting those little shots around the green and getting your putts to go in.”

Defending champion Chad Campbell stumbled to a 74 at La Quinta, dropping him 12 strokes back at even par.

Verplank, whose most recent of four PGA Tour titles came in the 2001 Canadian Open, finished second twice last year and has been a runner-up six times since his last victory.

He’s making his 2007 debut in the Hope.

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