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GOLF ROUNDUP

Curtis on a roll at Booz Allen

Winning the Booz Allen Classic, a tournament that might not even exist next year, could be as important to Ben Curtis as winning the British Open.

With a five-stroke lead entering today's final round at the Potomac, Md., course, he has his best chance to prove that his 2003 victory as a rookie at Royal St. George's was no fluke.

``I wouldn't say it's more important," Curtis said. ``But it's probably close to as important for me to go out there and prove that I can win again. There, for a while, I was having doubts, but I just kept working hard and fighting through the mess that I got myself into in my golf game. Now it seems to be going in the right direction."

And, unlike his British Open win, Curtis won't be sneaking up on anybody this time. He's led from the opening day with rounds of 62, 65, and 67, his 19-under-par score of 213 setting the tournament record through 54 holes.

Curtis hardly hit a wayward shot to build his lead over Brett Quigley on another day of ideal conditions. Curtis made every green in regulation and picked up strokes with three consecutive birdies on the front nine and one more on the back nine.

Quigley of Barrington, R.I. , shot a 67 to move to 14 under.

Steve Stricker (66), the 1996 champion, and Daniel Chopra (67) are seven strokes off the lead.

European -- Paul Casey of England birdied the 16th and 18th holes in a 7-under 66, taking a one-stroke lead over Colin Montgomerie after three rounds of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, Scotland.

Casey was at 15-under 204 entering the last round. Montgomerie, who faltered on the final hole of the US Open last weekend, bogeyed the 14th and had no birdies in his final six holes.

Sharing third at 207 were first-round leader Thomas Bjorn of Denmark (67), Brett Rumford of Australia (67), and Soren Hansen of Denmark (68).

LPGA -- Jeong Jang shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Mi Hyun Kim and rookie Brittany Lang after three rounds of the Rochester LPGA at Pittsford, N.Y.

Champions -- Tom Jenkins was 8 under through 16 holes in the second round of the Commerce Bank Championship at East Meadow, N.Y., when play was suspended for good after a third rain delay. Jenkins was 10 under for the tournament and had a one-stroke lead over Tom Wargo, who was 5 under through 12 holes.

PGA Pro Championship -- Defending champion Mike Small and Alan Schulte shared the lead at 9-under 207 after the third round of the 39th PGA Professional National Championship at Verona, N.Y.

US Women's Public Links -- At Pueblo, Colo., 14-year-old Kimberly Kim of Hawaii defeated Tiffany Chudy of Miramar, Fla., 4 and 3, and Tiffany Joh of California beat Sara Brown of Tucson, 3 and 2, to reach the finals.

Northeast Amateur -- The third round at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, R.I., was suspended because of rain. Carlton Forrester of Birmingham, Ala., is the leader at 6-under 136.

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