Steve Stricker continued his record-breaking streak at Warren Golf Course after firing a second round of 64, six under par, to hold a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the U.S. Senior Open Championship.
The American started the day in a share of the lead and kept his foot firmly on the pedal, going bogey-free on the rain-softened course en route to smashing the U.S. Senior Open Championship’s 36-hole scoring record by three strokes.
“My iron play has been pretty strong this week, and I'm holing a few putts,” said Stricker, who is playing in his first U.S. Senior Open. “To go bogey-free around here is a good day.
“I'm sure it'll get tougher. Once they make the cut, they'll have fewer players, and they may get a little tougher with the pin locations.”
The 52-year-old sits two shots ahead of compatriot and close friend Jerry Kelly who edged out Stricker and Retief Goosen in a three-way play-off at the American Family Insurance Championship on the PGA Champions Tour last week.
Kelly, who was the 54-hole leader at the 2018 U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor before being passed by David Toms on Sunday, fired a second consecutive round of 64, the second lowest score in tournament history, to keep himself firmly in the mix for his first Senior Major title.
‘‘We've played each other since we were juniors,’’ Kelly said. “He was quiet, and I was not. He was really good, and I was kind of not. I think he helped me along, and then when he was on his downside, I helped him along.
‘’We pull for each other, but even when we're teammates, we want to make that putt first. We want to be the one, so it’s going to be fun to play alongside Steve tomorrow and we’ll see what happens.’’
Defending champion and overnight leader Toms could not match his opening round heroics but kept his dream of winning back-to-back U.S. Senior Open titles alive with a second round of 67 to go into the weekend three shots behind Stricker.
Staysure Tour member and two-time U.S. Open champion Goosen climbed up the leaderboard on day two with a round of 65, five under par, to move into fourth position going into the weekend. While Bernhard Langer (T8) remains in the hunt to clinch his 11th Senior Major and become the oldest person in history to win the U.S. Senior Open after rounds of 66 and 68.
Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 Senior Open Champion, and Scotland’s Gary Orr sit at two under par for the championship at T28, with last week’s Farmfoods European Legends Links Champion Jean-François Remésy and England’s Roger Chapman a further shot back.