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David Toms sets 36 hole PGA Tour record

David Toms knows what he has to block out of his mind as the Colonial leader.

That impressive seven-stroke lead he built at Hogan’s Alley with a record 36-hole start, not what happened last weekend when he lost in a playoff to miss his first victory in more than five years.

“The secret is to somehow block (the big lead) out and get past the people that are saying stuff to you from green to tee … and just go play golf,” Toms said Friday after his second consecutive bogey-free round of 8-under 62. “Certainly you start thinking about it, and you think about your position, but I’ve just got to go out and play well.”

Toms certainly seems to have gotten past that playoff loss to K.J. Choi at The Players Championship.

After an opening 62 at Colonial for his best score in 429 rounds, since a career-best 61 during his last victory in January 2006, the 44-year-old Toms did it again Friday. He matched the PGA Tour scoring record for the first 36 holes of a tournament with Pat Perez, who opened the 2009 Bob Hope Classic with rounds of 61 and 63.

Toms also was the 36-hole leader at TPC Sawgrass, where he needed a birdie on the final hole of regulation to get into a playoff. But he then missed a short par putt on the first extra hole.

There hasn’t been another bogey since, and he carded 31s on both nines both days at Colonial.

“I just still need to put those four rounds together and somehow get over the hump again,” said Toms, a 12-time PGA Tour winner.

Already off to another impressive start before a 2 1/2 -hour weather delay in the middle of his second round, Toms took advantage after heavy rain softened the Colonial course and the wind stopped. On the eight holes he completed when play resumed, he had four birdies—and came up just short of two more.

“The conditions were perfect for scoring, and my mindset was to just keep making birdies, try to separate myself a little bit,” Toms said. “I just went out and played great the last eight holes or so, some of the best golf I’ve played in a long time.”

Steven Bowditch (64) and Charlie Wi (67), who finished before the delay, were tied for second with Mark Wilson (66) and John Senden (66). Wilson played in the same group with Toms.

First round co-leader Chez Reavie slumped to a 71, dropping nine strokes back. There were 70 players who made the cut at 1 under or better, including defending champion Zach Johnson at 3 under after rounds of 68 and 69.

The wind was already whipping with the storm approaching when Toms finished his front side with an aggressive play at No. 9. He opted for driver instead of 3-wood off the tee, knocking it into the fairway and then hitting his approach inside 4 feet.

“It was a bonus to make birdie, but it was all about the best way to make par,” he said.

Toms then saved par at No. 10 with a two-putt from 65 feet, and had just teed off at the par-5 11th hole when play was suspended.

After play resumed, Toms made a 17-foot birdie putt at No. 11, then hit his approach at the 445-yard 12th hole to 5 feet for another birdie. He also birdied Nos. 15 and 17, and had putts rolling on line at 16 and 18 that came up short.

“It was late afternoon golf after a rain shower. I’ve done it hundreds of times at home in Louisiana. That’s what it felt like,” he said. “It was hot and humid, greens were receptive, fairways were receptive, the greens weren’t rolling very fast.”

Reavie had two birdies, a bogey and a double bogey through eight holes before the delay. After a birdie at Colonial’s longest hole, the 635-yard 11th and his second of the day, Reavie had a double bogey 6 at No. 12, where he hit out of the same greenside bunker twice. Three holes later, his approach went into another greenside bunker and he had bogey again.

Bowditch, a 27-year-old Australian, had been away from the PGA Tour for more than three seasons before returning this year. He got his first career top-10 finish at Pebble Beach in February, but had made only three cuts in his 29 events from 2003-07. He regained his card by finishing 17th on the Nationwide Tour money list last season.

While he is playing this week near his home in the Dallas suburb of Addison, Bowditch in 2004 pitched a tent to live in while playing in a pro-am tour in Australia. He explained it as basically a series of one-day events with purses ranging from $5,000 to 100,000.

“Yeah, I was that broke. I was just trying to start out,” Bowditch said. “I turned professional when I was 18. It’s just a process. You learn, you make mistakes. I’m not even 28 yet. So it’s not that big a deal. My career hasn’t really started.”

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