SOUTH BEND — Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly left their Madison, Wis. homes but brought their best golf with them to the U.S. Senior Open.
Stricker shot a six-under par 64 in Friday’s second round at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course, moving into sole possession of the lead at 14-under for the tournament. Kelly also shot a 64 on Friday to take second place at 12-under.
Kelly won last weekend’s American Family Insurance Championship in Madison, beating Stricker and Retief Goosen in a playoff. The two Wisconsin natives have a long history together.
“We’ve played each other since we were juniors,” Kelly said. “And he was quiet, and I was not. He was really good, and I was kind of not. And I think he helped me along. And then when he was on his downside, I helped him along.”
Defending champion David Toms, who was tied with Stricker after one round, remained in the hunt at 11-under. Goosen also continued to play well, coming in fourth at 9-under.
Both Stricker and Kelly made six birdies and no bogeys on Friday. Stricker, who began on the back nine, closed his round with birdies on No. 8 and No. 9 to set the tournament record for lowest 36-hole score, both overall and in relation to par.
“I’ve been driving the ball well, getting in the fairways,” Stricker said. “My iron play’s been pretty strong this week, and I’m holing a few putts. To go bogey-free around here is a good day. I’ve just been doing a little bit of everything well.”
Toms wasn’t able to match his opening-round 62. He made six birdies but also bogeying three holes.
“I had some ups and downs,” Toms said. “Not quite as solid as yesterday but not many days are.”
Scores remained low throughout the field, with 41 golfers finishing under par.
“It’s just always having to chase these guys every week,” Kelly said. “I mean, it’s low every week. So it teaches you to keep going, keep going.”
Hot, humid weather produced ideal scoring conditions, and the golfers aren’t expecting that to change.
“The greens were still very receptive,” Stricker said. “Fairways were a little bit dryer, but still very soft. Pretty much a carbon copy from when I left last night. Humidity’s up, so there’s still a lot of moisture in the ground.”
Several big-name golfers finished just ahead of the cut line.
Scott McCarron, who sits atop the PGA Tour Champions money list so far this season thanks to three victories, shot 1-under on Friday to move to 1-over for the tourney, the highest score to make the cut. The top 60 plus ties move on.
Colin Montgomerie, a former U.S. Senior Open and Senior PGA champion, shot 2-over on Friday to end up even for the tournament. Rocco Mediate, also a past Senior PGA winner, was at 1-over.
Perry, Kite withdraw
Two-time U.S. Senior Open champion Kenny Perry withdrew from the tournament on Friday due to an elbow injury. He shot a 3-under-par 67 on Thursday.
Perry won the U.S. Senior Open in 2013 and 2017. He also set the Harbor Shores competitive course record of 62 during the final round of the 2012 Senior PGA Championship, a record he now shares with Rocco Mediate.
Tom Kite also withdrew Friday due to a back injury. Kite, the 1992 U.S. Senior Open champion, shot a 74 on Thursday. He was the second-oldest player in the field at 69.
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