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May 29, 2017

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Atwal holds top spot in must-win tournament

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Georgia--Arjun Atwal, who is running out of time to keep his PGA Tour card, used his new putting stroke to set up a 7-under 63 in Friday's second round of the McGladrey Classic, taking a one-shot lead into the weekend.

Atwal, whose two-year exemption from winning in Greensboro, North Carolina, expires this year, is No. 175 on the money list and has only two tournaments left to finish in the top 125. He opened with three straight birdies and took the outright lead with a wedge into 5 feet on the fifth hole, his 14th of the round.

"I'm in a desperate situation," Atwal said. "I got no choice — either win or finish in the top two. So I've just got to grind it out."

Atwal was at 10-under 130, a stroke ahead of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, who is playing his third straight tournament since his team lost a big final day lead against Europe at Medinah.

Love hit a 6-iron to 3 feet on the 17th hole, putting him into the final group on Saturday. He is tied with Jim Furyk, who is playing his first tournament since his bogey-bogey finish in the Ryder Cup.

Atwal struggled with a bad back early in the year when he opened the season by missing the cut in seven straight tournaments. His chronic left knee is acting up now and he expects to have tests on it at the end of the year.

All he cares about now is getting a card for next year, a position with which he is familiar.

Furyk rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt on the 14th, converted a two-putt birdie from 100 feet away just off the green, and made a third straight birdie on the 16th from about 12 feet. He wound up with a 65.

David Toms was tied with them until he made bogey on the final hole for a 67, though he was still only two shots off the lead. Bud Cauley, who shared the first-round lead, wasn't as crisp with his irons and had to settle for a 70. He also was two behind, still in great shape as he pursues his first PGA Tour win. Gavin Coles joined them at 132 after six birdies in a round of 65.

The cut was at 1-under 209, meaning all 88 remaining players were within nine shots of the lead.

Chad Campbell, who hit all 18 greens in regulation, was among those at 7-under 133, while Vijay Singh (68) and Jason Day (67) were four shots behind.

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