PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Steve Lowery and Bo Van Pelt, two guys who didn’t earn a dime the first few months of the season, played some of their best golf Friday at the Chrysler Championship on a tough day that sent Vijay Singh home early for the second straight week.

Lowery birdied three straight holes to start his back nine and finished with a 5-under 66 for a two-shot lead over Van Pelt, who played even better. Van Pelt never came close to a bogey in shooting 65, more than 71/2 shots better than the field average on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook.

Davis Love III and Bernhard Langer each shot 69 and were another shot behind with Tom Pernice Jr. (66).

Lowery started his year by missing eight straight cuts and 11 of the first 12, and he didn’t secure his card until a tie for eighth two weeks ago in Las Vegas. With that out of the way, he was at 8-under 134 and set his sights on winning.

“It’s been a lot more fun,” Lowery said. “I started to play a lot better toward the end of the year. I felt a lot more competitive, so it’s been nice the last six or seven weeks.”

The last two weeks have been disastrous for Singh, who started the year at No. 1 in the world ranking.

He missed the cut last week at Disney, along with Tiger Woods, by taking a triple bogey on his 15th hole of the second round. Singh, the defending champion at Innisbrook, went 74-71 to miss the cut by one shot.

The cut looms large this time of the year for those trying to get into next week’s Tour Championship, and those with only two tournaments left to finish in the top 125 on the money list and keep their cards.

Joe Ogilvie was among those who closed strong.

He is 33rd on the money list and was on the cut line until saving par with a 10-footer on the 15th, then making a testy 4-footer for par on the last hole fd landed safely on the other side of the water. … Among those missing the cut were Ryan Moore, who last week became the first player since Tiger Woods to get his tour card with going to Q-school. … Mike Weir missed the cut and will miss the Tour Championship for only the second time in seven years.

Winless Morgan shares Champions Tour lead

SONOMA, Calif. – Gil Morgan is totally focused on preserving his Champions Tour winning streak. Jay Haas’ mind is wandering to Alabama – and Loren Roberts is just grateful to win a few mind games with the course at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Morgan shot a steady 3-under 69 Friday, while Roberts had a wild ride to the same score as they matched Lonnie Nielsen atop the board at Sonoma Golf Club after the second round of the tour’s season-ending event.

Morgan, Roberts and Nielsen are at 6-under 138 – but with 20 players within four strokes of the lead, all of the lucrative prizes up for grabs this weekend still are quite available.

“I’m surprised somebody hasn’t broken loose,” said Roberts, who made three birdies in his final six holes to offset consecutive bogeys early on the back nine.

“That’s the way both days have been. You get started, and then fall off and have to regroup. … It’s a really good golf course that you have to think your way around.”

Haas joined Tom Watson, Craig Stadler and Jerry Pate among six golfers just one stroke behind the leaders after what’s expected to be the only drizzly day on Sonoma’s unforgiving rough and clever layouts.

“Nobody seems to be getting too far away, so I like my position,” said Haas, 3 under for the day.

Montgomerie nears money title

SOTOGRANDE, Spain – Colin Montgomerie moved closer to his eighth European Tour money title and took the outright lead in the Volvo Masters with a 5-under 66 Friday.

U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, the only player who can spoil Montgomerie’s Order of Merit title bid, carded a 69. Montgomerie was 9 under at 133, eight shots ahead of the New Zealander.

Campbell must rally in the final 36 holes to keep Montgomerie from topping the money list for the first time since the Scot won the last of his seven straight titles in 1999.

Ian Poulter of England, who shared the first-round lead with Montgomerie and played with him Friday, carded a 68. He was two shots off the lead, tied with Sergio Garcia of Spain, who had a 67.

Montgomerie made a fast start by collecting birdies on three of the first four holes. He birdied three more holes on the back nine but bogeyed the 10th and 18th, where he missed a par putt of 4 feet.

Campbell had five birdies in his round, but made bogeys at the sixth, seventh and 11th holes.

“I played great tee to green but I had a few silly holes,” he said. “Monty is up there doing his stuff again but I can’t control what he does. I can just control my own destiny.”

Campbell doesn’t like Valderrama.

“It’s a course where you need to work the ball a lot off the tee,” he said. “You’ve got to learn to like it and hopefully the next two rounds will do it for me.”

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