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Barr's hot streak continues with 65 and the lead

By BOB HARIG, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 16, 2003

NAPLES -- Dave Barr birdied the final four holes for his first Champions Tour victory Feb. 9 at the Royal Caribbean Classic at Key Biscayne.

He's on a similar roll at the ACE Group Classic and in position to win again.

Barr shot 7-under-par 65 on Saturday at the Club at TwinEagles to take a one-shot lead into the final round over first-round leader Vicente Fernandez and Palm Harbor's Jay Overton.

"The ball is rolling so pure on these greens," said Barr, who tied for fifth at the Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament in the fall to gain a full exemption this season. "It's nice to see the ball going in the hole. I'm just riding the wave right now. It helps knowing I was exempt at the start of the year."

Barr, a Canadian, won twice in his PGA Tour career. His victory last weekend assures him nothing, however. He already was exempt this year, and a win brings only a one-year exemption.

"I want to make sure I'm in the top 31 for next season," he said.

NO STROKES: Overton is getting some family help this year. His son, Jason, 19, is taking the semester off from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers to caddie for his dad.

"Jason is a very good golfer himself," Overton said. "Scratch (handicap). I don't give him any shots, let's put it like that."

ODDS AND ENDS: Overton's 63 equaled the 18-hole record in this event and was the best score posted at TwinEagles, the tournament venue for two years. Mike Hill shot 63 in the final round in 1994 at the Vineyards, and Al Geiberger shot 63 in the second round of the 1996 event at Lely Resort. Overton's low round on the Champions Tour had been 65. ... Wayne Levi, after opening with 69, withdrew before the second round because of food poisoning. ... Tom Watson, who is three shots out of the lead, never has won a tournament in Florida. He has 39 PGA Tour victories, four on the Champions Tour.

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