TULSA, Okla. — Mike Weir opened a 4-stroke lead Friday within the Senior PGA Championship with a 5-under 65 on a troublesome Southern Hills format that baffled a lot of the gamers.
That moved the Canadian front-runner to 7 beneath via 36 holes, with Steve Stricker (68), Rocco Mediate (69) and John Riegger at 3 beneath. Riegger had three holes left when play was known as due to darkness at 8:31 p.m. Weir accomplished his spherical simply minutes earlier.
Weir gained the Insperity Invitational in Houston early this month for his first PGA Tour Champions victory. The left-hander made six birdies towards one bogey. His longest birdie putt was solely 10 ft, and he made troublesome par saves on holes Nos. 7, 8 and 9 — his closing holes — to stay separated from the sphere.
“It was a very enjoyable spherical of golf,” Weir stated. “It is a very demanding golf course, so when you might have your alternatives and benefit from them, you are feeling good as a result of you recognize you are going to be combating for some pars on some holes, which I used to be coming in and made a pair good par putts to complete off the spherical properly.
“However all features of my sport have been a bit bit sharper right now. I drove it a bit higher than yesterday and the placing was nonetheless strong. I hit some iron photographs a bit nearer to the opening right now than yesterday and that is why I acquired to five beneath.”
Weir’s tee shot on the par-4 seventh stopped a yard from bouncing right into a creek, and he made a 9-foot putt to save lots of par. He hit a protracted bunker shot on the par-3 eighth gap to some inches. He polished it off with a 5-foot par putt on his closing gap.
Stricker started and ended a protracted day with consecutive bogeys, however he nonetheless managed to stroll off the course with what was then a share of the lead at 3 beneath. He had 11 holes to finish from his first spherical and rapidly went again out for the second spherical in windier however drier circumstances.
Apparently the disappointing begin and end made it arduous for him to recollect all that transpired in between. Requested what membership and distance he had on 10 when he holed out from the green for an eagle that took him to five beneath, he had a clean look and needed to be reminded by the moderator that he made an eagle there.
“Oh. Forgot I did that,” Stricker stated. “I had like 107 yards, I feel to the opening and proper in between golf equipment, so I simply took a wedge and simply tried to skip it up the hill there a bit bit. And that is only a bonus — you do not anticipate to do something like that. Nevertheless it was a pleasant shot and acquired me going. “
Mediate additionally made an eagle from the green, hitting a 9-iron from 138 yards into the cup on his third shot on the par-5 fifth gap to maneuver from 2 over again to even par. He then added birdies on Nos. 7 and eight to play his final 5 in 4 beneath.
“I made just a few bogeys however holed a 9-iron on 5 that form of turned the entire world round,” Mediate stated. “It was simply a kind of issues that occurs. After which I completed fairly good after that. I used to be enjoying OK, a pair over, but it surely’s straightforward to do this round this place — this place is complete championship golf. It is actually good.”
Stricker’s group included South Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, who gained the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills. It drew a big share of the estimated crowd of 8,000 attending on a sunny day with temperatures within the low 70s and a light-weight northerly breeze.
Els made eagle on the drivable par-4 seventeenth and shot even-par 70 to stay at 3 over. Goosen shot 72 and was 1 over. The defending champion from 2019, Ken Tanigawa, missed the reduce at 8 over (73-75).