AKRON, Ohio – Steve Stricker extended his lead to 5 shots on Friday in the Senior Players Championship, after an opening of 7 under 63 with a 68 on windy Firestone.
The 54-year-old American Ryder Cup captain had a total of 9 under 131 on the difficult South Course and played captivatingly for the first two rounds.
“It was a little more sharp today,” Stricker said. “I did not make a foul, but I saved some good for pars that kept the round going. Only two birdies. I did not really capitalize on some good shots I hit in it today do not have.”
The tournament is the third of five majors at the PGA Tour. Stricker has six senior victories – including two major championships – after winning 12 times at the PGA Tour.
“I just have to keep doing the same things,” Stricker said. “Be as aggressive as I can and play smart like I did and just try to do the same things I did the first few days.”
Paul Broadhurst was second at 4 down after a 69. The 55-year-old Englishman has won five championship victories, including two majors, after winning six times on the European Tour.
‘I think it’s a case of him [Stricker] Broadhurst needs to get back to the field rather than us catching him, “you are not going to hit every fairway, you are not going to hit every green, so a few laps under me made me happy.”
Defending Champion Jerry Kelly (70) was 1 under with Jim Furyk (68), Ernie Els (67), Jose Maria Olazabal (69), Paul Goydos (69) and Kevin Sutherland (69). Kelly won the U.S. Family Insurance Championship two weeks ago in her hometown of Madison, Wisconsin.
Stricker led the par-4 10th and par-5 16th.
“It’s just a tough test,” Stricker said. “The wind is up, so I think we got 15, 16 holes in the wind or in the wind, and then there are only a few crosswinds. It’s a tough test. And the pin positions are hard if you “It does not drive in the highway. I felt like I was living in the first cut today, which is difficult to control the ball coming from that first cut.”