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Acupuncture aids Couples' game

Dr. Snowball might be making house calls next week at Shinnecock Hills if Fred Couples keeps playing like this.

After night and morning acupuncture sessions with Halina Snowball in Greenwich, Conn., the 44-year-old Couples shot bogey-free 6-under 65 Friday to take the second-round lead in the Buick Classic.

"As soon as I left her office yesterday, I didn't have any pain in my back," Couples said. "I don't get it, but I'm going to keep trying it. To me, it's unbelievable what they can do."

Coming off a second-place finish last week in the Memorial, Couples birdied the final two holes to take a one-stroke lead over Vijay Singh, Fredrik Jacobson and playing partner Luke Donald.

"I've kept the ball in play, which is the key here," said Couples, who played with acupuncture pins in his ears.

Couples' wife, Thais, tried to talk him into withdrawing Wednesday night to rest his back for next week's U.S. Open.

"I snuck out of there Thursday when she was still sleeping," Couples said. "She's downtown with the kids now. She'll come home and I'll tell her I'm leading the tournament and she's going to have a heart attack."

Couples took advantage of Jacobson's double-bogey 7 on the par-5 ninth _ his last hole _ to top the leaderboard at 10 under.

Jacobson's tee shot struck a tree and bounced away from the tree line, but he failed to take advantage of the break when his 8-iron third shot went into the thick rough to the right of the green. After lobbing his fourth shot into an awkward position in the left fringe, he chipped 5 feet past the hole and missed the bogey putt.

"It could have been a 9," Jacobson said.

He finished with 69, Donald had 66 and Singh followed his opening 63 with 70.

"I had a lot of half-shots today," said Singh, the 1993 and 1995 winner. "If you're between clubs, it's very hard to get close."

CHAMPIONS: Andy Bean, John Harris and Allen Doyle tied the course record with 7-under 65 and shared the first-round lead at the Bayer Advantage Celebrity Pro-Am in Parkville, Mo. Mark James and Morris Hatalsky were a shot back at 6 under, and six players were tied at 5 under. Twenty players are within four shots of the lead at the National Golf Club of Kansas City.

SCOTTISH PGA: Miles Tunnicliff shot 4-under 68 and extended his lead to five strokes during the second round of the Diageo Championship in Gleneagles. Tunnicliff made six birdies with two bogeys and is 9 under for the tournament. Nick O'Hearn, who shared a one-stroke lead with Tunnicliff entering the second round, shot 73 and is tied with Graeme McDowell (71) for second.

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