LA QUINTA, Calif. — Gary Woodland played basketball for a season at Division II Washburn University, and the 6-foot guard still describes a 30-point loss to his beloved Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse as the biggest thrill of his life.
If he keeps hitting his shots at the Bob Hope Classic this weekend, Woodland might have an even bigger achievement in his backup athletic career.
Woodland shot an 8-under 64 on Friday to join Jhonattan Vegas in the lead after three rounds in the 90-hole tournament on four Palm Springs-area courses.
Farmington's Daniel Summerhays shot a 4-under 68 and is sitting in a tie for 11th.
Woodland made five straight birdies on the front nine at the Nicklaus Private course, with only a missed 10-foot putt keeping him from stringing together seven in a row. He added three birdies on the back nine to claim his first lead after any round in 28 PGA Tour events while putting up the best 54-hole score of his career.
Not bad for a guy who didn't get serious about golf until putting his hoop dreams to rest.
"I learned how to play the game over the last year and a half," Woodland said. "I've got great people around me, great people mentoring me, and I'm starting to get there. I'm not anywhere close to where I want to be, but I'm on that road right now."
After a year at Washburn, the Kansas native transferred to KU in 2003 to get serious about golf. But as a multisport athlete growing up, he embraced the grip-it-and-rip-it school of golf until learning how to harness his athleticism on tour.
"There's a lot of guys out here that know how to play this game," Woodland said. "I could probably beat them on the basketball court, but out here, for a year and a half, I was getting my butt kicked. ... There's so much up-and-down in other sports. You're never going to win all the time, so I learned how to play through adversity."
ABU DHABI CHAMPIONSHIP: At Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Padraig Harrington was disqualified from the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship after he failed to replace a ball that moved a fraction of an inch when he picked up his marker during the opening round.Comment on this story
The three-time major winner was called in before the second round to review video replays and accepted his disqualification after acknowledging the ball moved ever so slightly on the seventh green. Harrington was in second place after a 65. A television viewer e-mailed European Tour officials to report an infraction.
Defending champion Martin Kaymer shot a 65 to take a three-stroke lead at 12 under. Charl Schwartzel, the Joburg Open winner last week, was second after a 71. U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell (70) was 8 under.
Phil Mickelson followed his opening 71 with a 70, and top-ranked Lee Westwood was even par after a 75.