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Abe Winter, Published February 21 2010

Podolak breaks par at Allianz Championship

BOCA RATON, Fla. – The bigger names on the Champions Tour were notching birdies. Mike Podolak was making pars.

Yet that didn’t disappoint the Oxbow, N.D., resident, who set a goal of shooting under par, then went out and did it.

Podolak, 55, carded a

1-under 71 Saturday in the second round of the Allianz Championship at The Old Course at Broken Sound in this south Florida city.

That score had him smiling as he walked off the final green and to the scorer’s tent.

“I wanted to beat yesterday’s score, that’s for sure,” Podolak said. “I got off to a good start and my putting today was spectacular. I’m lag-putting terrific.”

His two-day total of 2-over 146 is 15 strokes behind co-leaders Tommy Armour III and Tim Simpson, who both enter Sunday’s final round at 13-under 131.

Podolak, the Oxbow Country Club member, seemed more relaxed in the second round after shooting 3-over 75 Friday when he had a double bogey and two bogeys in his first six holes. In Round 2 he missed only one fairway and hit seven greens in regulation on the back nine, which he played first for the second straight day.

He made par on the first eight holes, just missing on two birdie putts, before finally getting a birdie on the 507-yard par-5 18th. His second shot landed in a greenside trap, but he put his third shot inches from the cup and earned a loud cheer from several fans who made the trip to watch the long-time North Dakota amateur champion compete as a pro.

The back nine saw him make seven pars, one bogey and one birdie, the latter coming on the par-5 sixth hole.

Much to his delight, he two-putted from afar on several holes, which left him confident of an even better score in the third round.

“These other guys are making a ton of birdies, but I’m not them,” said Podolak.