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Jim Furyk shoots 64 to take the lead of 2 strokes at the US Senior Open in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. The combination of wind, heat and humidity made it difficult to get low at the US Senior Open on Friday.

But Jim Furyk and Greg Kraft found a way.

Furyk shot a 6-under-64, the best round in days at Omaha Country Club, to take a 2-stroke lead Stephen Ames. The 2003 U.S. Open champion and 17-time PGA Tour winner jumped from an opening 72 to 4 under.

“I could see a few holes going in, and I hit a lot of clean field, a lot of greens today, kept the ball in good places,” Furyk said. “When I missed it, I mostly missed it in the right places. I really got a little on the roll and gained momentum.”

Ames, the co-leader in the first round, hit four of the first six holes on his second nine and shot 73. Two-time U.S. Senior Open runner-up Miguel Angel Jimenez (71) was 1 under.

Kraft, who has not played in a tournament since September 2019, had four straight birdies on his second nine and shot 65 for the best round of the afternoon session.

“I just got it going,” said Kraft, who shot 75 on Thursday. “I actually didn’t play that bad yesterday, but I was on the wrong side of the hole all day. Today I got it under the hole, which made a big difference.”

Kraft was in a logjam of ten players on an equal footing. Among them was the co-leader in the first round Billy Andrade (75), Fred Couples (71), David Toms, Thongchai Jaidee (71) and the oldest player in the field, 67-year-old Jay Haas (71).

“You know, there’s such a long way to go, but I’m playing OK,” Haas said. “I don’t think I’m just playing incredible golf that I can not even fathom. I can play better, I think, but I have to do it. I feel good. Health, I like the heat. It keeps me going.

Alex Cejka (74), the winner of the first two majors of the year, was in a group of 12 in a row with big winners Mike Weir (74), Mark O’Meara (71) and Retif Goosen (69).

With the thunderstorms in the forecast Saturday, the first tee times for the third round have been moved up to 07:15 Central Daylight Time with trios that are from numbers 1 and 10.

The temperatures were in the low 70s when Furyk went out on Friday morning, but the wind was swirling and was windy. The wind calmed down by noon, but heat and humidity led to a temperature that seemed close to 100 degrees, and the conditions along with the hills of OCC carried the players 50 and older.

Furyk scored 12 of 13 clean sheets and 15 of 18 greens and had three birdies on each side.

The turning point, he said, made a set of 30 feet to save the par after she landed in a green bunker on the third hole of 240 meters, par-3. Birdies on three of the next four holes got him below par for the tournament.

“Then you play with house money,” he said. “You can relax a little and just think fairways and greens.”

Furyk ends his round with a birdie on the 18th par-4. He hit a knocked-down 8-iron about 15 feet under the hole and made the point to secure his lowest score in an official event since September.

The 51-year-old Furyk has had two wins and nine top-10s in 15 events since joining the PGA Tour last year. He has never been among the top 25 as a senior. His highest point in a senior major two weeks ago was sixth place in the Senior Players Championship at Firestone.

Andrade followed a bogey-free 65 with a 75 that included six bogeys.

“I felt like I played better than 75, and I’m still in it,” Andrade said. “Just get ready for tomorrow and go ride some rides in the highway and see if we can make some birds.”

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