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David Toms seeking return to best form

David Toms returns to a happy hunting ground for this week's St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tennessee where he bids to reverse a recent slump in form.

Champion in 2003 and 2004, Toms came close to completing a hat-trick of titles at the TPC at Southwind before losing out to fellow American Justin Leonard by a shot last year.

His track record in the event over the last four seasons is astonishing. He has not finished worse than fourth and lies an accumulative 64-under-par with 14 of his 16 rounds a 68 or better.

"What I do feel is that I have support here," the world number eight told reporters as he prepared for Thursday's opening round.

"When I am playing well and get in contention here, people are behind me. I get excited to play here and I think all that factors in to having successes."

Toms, the only member of the world's top 10 in this week's field, is determined to reproduce the blistering form he displayed at the start of the year.

The 39-year-old from Louisiana rattled up four top-10 finishes in his first five PGA Tour starts, including a victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Since then, however, he has missed three cuts in his last six tournaments, with a highest finish of joint 15th at last month's BellSouth Classic.

"I got off to a quick start, getting a win early there in Hawaii and I played extremely well in South Florida," said Toms, who made his major breakthrough at the 2001 U.S. PGA Championship.

"Although I have been struggling since then, I am still happy with the way I've started the year.

"I've been working towards some goals of mine as far as winning a tournament, getting to the Tour Championship and then also making the Ryder Cup team.

"I just need to start playing consistent golf again soon."

Toms lies eighth in the PGA Tour money list with earnings of $2,187,527. He is fifth in the Ryder Cup standings, virtually assuring him of a place in the U.S. team to take on Europe at the K Club in Ireland this September.

Leonard is back to defend his title at Southwind but, like Toms, has tailed off after a promising start to the year.

The Texan produced two top-eights in his first three PGA Tour appearances but has finished no higher than tied for 26th in his last 10 tournaments.

Also playing this week are Tim Herron, who ended a seven-year title drought with a playoff victory at the Colonial tournament on Sunday, American Ryder Cup player Chris DiMarco and former world number ones Nick Price and David Duval.

May 25, 2006


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