Dave Stockton knocked in four long birdie putts on the back nine, including a 22-footer on the final hole, to overtake Bob Charles for a one-stroke lead Friday through two rounds of the U.S. Senior Open at Beachwood, Ohio.
Stockton, who needed just 28 putts, says he’s a better player now at age 54 than he was while winning 11 times on the regular PGA Tour.
“I think my game is an awful lot better,” Stockton said. “I drive the ball farther. I have always been a good short-iron player and I still retain that. Putting, I’m one of the best, so I have the basis for it.”
Stockton’s uphill birdie putt on the closing hole pushed him into a tie with Charles. A three-stroke lead melted away in the final three holes when Charles missed his 10-foot uphill putt for par.
Stockton’s 5-under-par 67 after an opening 70 left him at 7-under 137 at the midpoint at Canterbury Golf Club in suburban Cleveland.
“It was a pleasure to watch a master craftsman at work on the greens like that,” Charles said. “He was quite incredible. He drained everything he looked at.”
Charles countered five birdies with five bogeys for a 72 that left him at 138.
No one else was within four of the lead.
Through 13 holes, a frustrated Steve Stricker snapped at Nicki, his wife and caddy. She kept encouraging him, however, and he finished with a flourish to tie Jay Don Blake for the Western Open lead after two rounds.
Stricker had four birdies and an eagle on his final five holes, matching the PGA Tour’s season high for consecutive below-par holes, in a 7-under 65 that put him at 134 for the Lemont, Ill., tournament.
Lee Janzen was one stroke back.
Greg Norman and Nick Faldo were among those who couldn’t make the cut.
Meg Mallon had plenty of fans and family to please during the first round of LPGA Jamie Farr Kroger Classic at Sylvania, Ohio. She didn’t disappoint.
Mallon, who grew up in Michigan and attended Ohio State, shot a 6-under-par 65 for a one-shot lead at the 6,319-yard Highland Meadows Golf Club in suburban Toledo.
Clarkston’s Robin Walton shot 71, while Tracy Hanson of Rathdrum shot 73.
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