BIRMINGHAM, AL – Steve Stricker fired 4-under 68 to maintain a two-stroke lead Friday over Scott McCarron and Padraig Harrington in the second round of the zonal tradition, the first of five major PGA Tour Champions.
Stricker, who has won and placed second in the last two rounds to Greystone Golf & Country Club, continues to come back from the health scare that drove him to hospital for nearly two weeks last year.
He only had his first bogey in the championship on the 5th hole of the 5th class but never lost his lead. He was under 11 years old and 133 years old.
“The three-ball slipped a little bit into my run pretty quickly,” said Straker, who was captain of the US Ryder Cup winning team at Welshing Straits last year. “But overall, I did a lot of good things and played outside the lane a lot and was able to give myself some good looks, so it was another good day.”
He said he was able to hit some balls after the first round on Thursday and “he had a lot of energy.”
“I was a little more tired this morning waking up,” Stryker said on Friday. “Rest for the next two days is critical.”
McCarron shot a 65, and Harrington had a 66.
World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els had three shots back after his second straight goal in 68. Els finished with a birdie after tripping on a pair of 3s, Nos 4 and 17.
John Daly was disqualified for failing to sign his scorecard after 72. He had opened with a score of 68. Daly was under 4 in his second round before making a double bob in two of his last three holes.
Dozens of fields full of traditions of regions
Macaron, who started in ninth, had a five-bird, six-hole before his only bogey of the round at No. 18.
During his comeback after undergoing ankle surgery last August, he had yet to finish 34th or below par during his first eight events of the year.
“I haven’t had many good rounds or tournaments this year, but I’m happy to play,” McCarron said, adding that he hadn’t had much pain in his left foot in the first two rounds. “I am still coming out of that surgery. The doctor said it will take about a year before I can really be in it, but I am ahead of schedule and I am happy to be here playing.
“To be able to go out and play well today was a great bonus.”
Harrington finished his 66th with the Sparrows on the 17th and 18th. It’s his first for the regions.
“It’s pretty scary, the golf course itself,” said Harrington. “There is a lot of danger out there. You are always a little wary.
“But there are definitely some loopholes that you can hit. If you make good shots, there are a lot of sparrows and vultures to make.”
Miguel Angel Jimenez, Stuart Appleby and Stephen Alker were under seven.
Jimenez, 2018 champion, eagle number 15 to spotlight on 70 after joining Wes Short Jr. for second after the first round. His shot was stopped at the tee when it hit Els’ ball. Alker, the Charles Schwab Cup leader, hit 69 points despite making three consecutive bobs, matching Appleby’s points on day two. Alker has two wins and a second place finish in the last three events. Short dip again with 73.