Three Share Lead At Christmas In October Classic 2009: Claxton Veteran

Three share lead at Christmas in October Classic

Claxton, a veteran of 306 career starts on the Nationwide Tour, remained upbeat late in the day despite his misstep at the par-3, 8th
hole. “I hit a bad shot and then I hit a poor bunker shot that didn’t get out of the bunker,” he said. “When you play golf long enough stuff like that happens. I’m going to try and put it behind me and think about the good things that happened.” The good things happened on Claxton’s opening nine — five birdies got him to 13-under and three better than Sim, who posted his score early in the day. Two bogeys and a lone birdie, coupled with the double, brought Claxton back to the pack. The biggest issue of the day was the wind, which kicked up and remained steady around 20 mph. “There are no trees and there’s nothing to block out there,” said Claxton. “It’s hammering on you all day. It seemed like a lot of crosswinds today. You’re always in between clubs. It’s hard to really dial it in because you’re guessing a lot and we don’t like to guess.” Sim birdied four of his first six holes Friday morning to reach double digits but could do no better than even par the rest of the way, finishing off his day with a bogey on the final hole. It’s the second straight day that the 24-year-old Australian stumbled on his closing hole. “I hit a good drive and a good second shot and the wind just didn’t bring it back,” said Sim of the 442-yard, 9th hole. “I missed it on the wrong side of the flag.” That’s about the only thing Sim has done wrong of late. The former No. 1-ranked amateur in the world has won twice and has been a dominant force this year. He tied for 51st at last week’s PGA Championship and is two good days away from win number three, which would give him an instant promotion to the PGA TOUR.
“I’ve been in this position before and I know what it feels like so I’m just going to get it out of back of my mind and just play golf the last two rounds,” said Sim, who shared the 54-hole lead at the Cox Classic in Omaha four weeks ago. “I got too distracted in Omaha and thought about it too much. I’m in a position now where I can do it but I’ve got to try and keep the distractions to a minimum.”

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