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`PURPLE PATCH’ KEEPS PRICE AHEAD OF NORMAN

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There was a little lapse at the end, but Nick Price's visit to what he called "a purple patch," kept intact his two-shot lead over Greg Norman in the Western Open.

"It's royal and it's gaudy and it's that zone you sometimes get into," Price said.He got into it Saturday in suffocating heat during the middle of the third round, hitting his irons with crisp efficiency and draining the putts with his newly acquired Zebra putter.

At one point, Price, the current PGA champion and the winner last week at Hartford, appeared on the brink of a runaway.

But the 90-degree heat and high humidity took a toll on Price and Norman. Both complained of fatigue toward the end.

And Price said the heat could have been a factor in what he called "a disappointing finish" that cost him a couple of strokes and kept Norman in hot pursuit.

After a magnificent 6-iron shot from the rough and an awkward stance on the lip of a fairway bunker, Price missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole.

And, for the third day in a row, he bogeyed the 18th, this time missing the green and failing to get up and down.

Still, he and Norman matched 5-under-par 67s on the Dubsdread course at Cog Hill and are separated by only two strokes, 202 to 204, going into Sunday's final round of the chase for a $216,000 first prize. They'll be paired together in the final twosome.

In looking ahead to that matchup, they sounded like a mutual admiration society.

"Greg is one of those guys who can just overpower a golf course," Price said. "He's capable of putting up any kind of a number.

"I know what I have to do," Price said. "I have to go out and play well. Because I know Greg will."

Norman, runner-up in this event the last two years and four times overall, was equally complimentary.

"Nickie is on a roll," he said of Price, who has six victories around the world in the last 12 months.

"He's playing with a lot of confidence after winning last week," Norman said. "He's an emotional player and he's carrying that emotion over to this week.

"But he's not infallible," Norman warned. "He's not uncatchable."

At Sylvania, Ohio, Jane Geddes tied the course record with a 7-under-par 64 and took the lead after the second round of the LPGA Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.

Geddes' total of 132 was two better than Brandie Burton and Hollis Stacy with 18 holes to play on the 6,295-yard, par-71 Highland Meadows Golf Club.

Geddes, who won this event in 1987 when it was played at Glengarry Country Club, had seven birdies, including four on the back nine. She had a poor drive on the 532-yard, par-5 closing hole, but was able to save par and match Chris Johnson's tournament record, set in 1989.

At Mason, Ohio, the unlikely couple of Bob Charles and Bob Reith took over the lead with 8-under-par 134 totals after the second round of the $850,000 Kroger Senior Classic.

Charles, the leading money-winner on the Senior Tour, had a 66 and Reith, who has never won on the PGA or Senior Tour, shot 67.

Four players were one stroke back, including 67-year-old Joe Jimenez, who shot his age to win the Vantage Classics event for players 60 and over. Three others, including Lee Trevino, were within two strokes.