BENTON PORT, Mich. — An odd couple, golfers Scott McCarran and Stephen Ames, they’re not.
But the roommates at this week’s 82nd Senior PGA Championship on the Seaport Shores did have something in common — after a 5-under 66 in Friday’s second round, they closed the 36-hole Shares a 134-stroke lead at 8-par. It will only get colder over time.
“It’s crazy,” said McCarran, 56, who has won 11 PGA Tour titles, including the 2017 Senior Players major. “The weather (when) we teeed off…not bad. It was 60 (degrees) (at the time) and then we got to the third hole and I think it was down 10 or 15 degrees.”
Still, McCarran made eight birdies on his round, including five for a 30 on the 6,852-yard Jack Nicklaus-designed back nine near Lake Michigan. Ames, 58, double-bogeyed for the second day in a row and made six birdies over his final 11 holes despite deteriorating conditions.
“This is not my cup of tea,” Ames said. “Even though I live in Canada, I don’t like cold weather. But I’ve never gone out and played golf in this dress.”
McCarran, who just had major surgery on his left ankle last August, has finished in the top 25 just once in nine events this season, tying for 16th at the Regions Tradition Major on May 15, Steve Strell Gram won the tournament, which he did not play a week after testing positive for COVID.
“It’s been a slow process,” McCarran said of his surgery. “I knew it would be. It was a struggle, but things have gotten better in recent weeks.”
Ames, meanwhile, is 11th on the money list with $406,237, thanks to four top 10 finishes.
“Putting has been an issue the last six weeks I’ve been playing,” Ames said after making his final birdie on the 16th, 25 feet. “I had my chances, but I couldn’t putt to end the game.”
McCarran and Ames lead four golfers by two shots — World Golf Hall of Famer Germany’s Bernhard Langer, 64, with his second straight 68, and Florida’s Brian Gay (68) , Canada’s Mike Weir (71) and PGA Tour New Zealand champion rookie Steven Alker (72).
Senior PGA Championship: Germany’s Bernhard Lange prioritizes senior PGA event in Michigan
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Langer, a two-time Masters champion who has won the most senior major since turning 50 (11), made four birdies, three of which were on the par-5 holes 9, 10 and 10 on Harbor Shores. The 15th hole offset a bogey. The 436-yard seventh hole features a windswept green overlooking Lake Michigan.
“It was cold today, much colder, and the ball sometimes had nowhere to go,” Lange said. “It’s great to be under 70 on a day like this because it’s not easy. The lessons are played longer.”
Elke made an eagle Thursday on the tournament’s first hole (the 10th, par 5) with a 25-foot downhill putt, which he bogeyed on the first hole and last Friday, halfway through. Only catch birds. “It’s been a tough day,” said Alke, who has two wins and nearly $1.2 million this season. “Obviously, I didn’t hit the ball like I did yesterday…couldn’t get to the par 5.”
After losing 56 under-par games on the 156-man field in Thursday’s opening round, Harbour Shores fought back Friday with a big help from Mother Nature. Only 17 golfers were under par on Friday.
The best round of the afternoon, a 2-under 69, belonged to defending champion Alex Cejka, who was at 5-under 137 with South Africa Morning Golf Players multiple Grand Slam champion Ernie Els (70), Rod Pamplin (68) in a group. ) Paul Goydos (68) and Tracy Phillips (68) from Australia and the Americans, who were among 39 club pros who played this week.
Seika started his play Friday afternoon on the par-5 10th hole, birdie on the par-3 11th, before bogeying back-to-back bogeys on the 17th and 18th to end the 9th. hole game. But he made 4 birdies on the front side of the harbour shore.
“I played well on (his) back nine,” Seika said. “It was really, really tough, but I hit some good shots, made some good putts, made some big moments.”
A total of 71 golfers participated in the 36-hole tournament with a combined score of 145 over three.
he just grinds
Langer, who has won 43 PGA Tour titles and 11 majors since the age of 50, shot a second straight 68 under different scoring conditions and was 3-under. Seek victory on the harbour coast. Rain and wind from the northwest across Lake Michigan on Friday confused many in the field, but Langer, 64, was not among them. He had four birdies, three of them on the par-5.
“The conditions were very harsh,” Langer said. “It was cold today, much colder, and the ball sometimes had nowhere to go.”
The two-time Masters champion (1985 and 1993) also said the weather forecast he received the previous two days was incorrect. “Yesterday (Thursday) they were wrong and today they were wrong again,” he said with a laugh. “It’s great to be under 70 on a day like this because it’s not easy.”
In his three previous races — Lange didn’t play in 2018 because his son was out of high school — he finished tied for fourth (with England champion Roger Chapman) in 2012 and tied for 2014 3rd (with champion Colin Montgomery) and tied for 3rd in 2016 (d. Rocco Medit).
Montgomery opened with a 2-under 71 and a 2-under 140 to lead a group of 141 shots that includes 2018 champion Paul Broadhurst, who on Friday shot a 2-under 69 in crazy conditions.
When he won in 2014, Montgomery was 13 under at 271. Broadhurst won at 19-under 265 in 2018, matching 2016 champion Rocco Mediat’s win.
Chapman, who opened Thursday under 70, shot 2-over and 1-over midway through Friday’s round. The projected 36-hole cut is expected to be two-thirds.
on the way
Mediate, who opened with a three-over 74 on Thursday, won’t make the cut because he was one of four golfers who missed Friday’s cards. A wrist injury caused him to withdraw. John Daly, the 1991 PGA Championship winner, shot a 72 on Thursday and retired with a knee problem. Rich Beem, the 2002 PGA champion, opened with a 75, while Jonathan Kaye (78) also started Friday’s game but withdrew.