Mark James carded another sub-par round to lie in a share of second place at the halfway stage of the US Senior Open at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Kansas.

The Englishman, who is chasing his second Senior Major title, plotted his way around the testing par 70 layout in 69 strokes, to move on to a three under par total of 137 - one behind leader Tom Watson, the reigning Senior British Open Champion.

James started and finished with a bogey but also managed three birdies to finish alongside three Americans - defending champion Allen Doyle (68), Morris Hatalsky (67) and Bob Gilder (66) - on a day when only seven players were left in red figures.

“I played well, it was solid again,” said James. “I hit my irons very well but didn’t hole much. I started with a three-putt but overall I was pleased.”

Watson fired a four-under-par 66 to take a one stroke lead at four under 136.

“I had the Watson-of-old kind of feel today,” said the American. “I hit it sideways a little bit here and there and hit some really good shots and hit some bad shots and let the putter do the work. So it was a good fun day out there.”

Peter Jacobsen carded a 66 and is in sixth place on two under par 138, while 2003 champion Bruce Lietzke (70) and DA Weibring (71) are a further stroke back.

Another man enjoying a good second round was Mark McNulty who, like James, is a member of the European Seniors Tour. The naturalised Irishman had opened his account in Kansas with a 75 but returned to form on Friday with a 67 that moved him into contention on two over par.

On the same mark is American Jay Haas, who fell from the overnight lead after stumbling to a five-over-par 75. Australian Graham Marsh is a stroke further back in a tie on three over par.

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