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Masters flop Furyk perks up at Hilton Head

ATLANTA (Reuters) - There were no U.S. Masters blues for Jim Furyk as the straight-hitting American moved into a three-way tie for the lead in Friday's second round of the Heritage Classic in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

A week after comfortably missing the cut at the Masters, Furyk carded a three-under-par 68 to post a seven-under total of 135 at the scenic Harbour Town Golf Links.

Despite sandwiching two birdies with two bogeys on his homeward nine, the world number six ended the day level with compatriot Charles Howell III (67) and Britain's Greg Owen (69).

Twice champion Boo Weekley returned a second successive 68 to lie a further stroke back with fellow Americans Chad Campbell (67), Bryce Molder (68), JJ Henry (68) and Australian Stuart Appleby (67).

"I like this golf course, I think it's a wonderful track," he told reporters after recording five birdies and two bogeys.

"I felt like I actually played a little bit better today but yesterday I putted the ball very, very well. In fact I think I had 10 putts on the front side.

"The difference today is I struck the ball well," added Furyk, who covered his outward nine in a flawless three-under 32. "I hit good putts out there but I wasn't able to make as many, and that was the difference.

"I've played pretty well here in the past and I've also missed a bunch of cuts. It seems to be feast or famine for me. Hopefully this year it's feast."

MASTERS REBOUND

Asked how he had rebounded so successfully from his missed cut at the Masters, he replied: "Missing a cut is definitely not the end of the world. Obviously it's the Masters ... and I really want to play well there, but it's not life or death.

"I didn't feel nearly as bad as if I would have (had I) almost won the golf tournament and lost it on the last hole, I'll put it that way."

South Korea's KJ Choi, who fired an opening 64 to lead the tournament by two shots at Harbour Town, faded with a 74 and was three strokes off the pace at four under.

Britain's Paul Casey moved in the opposite direction, improving on his first-round 75 with a sizzling 65 to make the cut by two shots.

American Blake Adams, who fired a best-of-the-day 63, equaled the PGA Tour record by needing only 18 putts in his round.

Seven players had previously achieved the feat, most recently American Ken Duke in the third round of the 2009 WGC-CA Championship.

The cut fell at level-par 142 with Spaniard Sergio Garcia and former major winners Lee Janzen, Mark Brooks and Steve Elkington among those missing out.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Alastair Himmer)