Stingy Oak Hill getting best of Sr. PGA field

Chez Reavie, January 2009
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Chez Reavie
Or some other long shot like him. Reavie won the RBC Canadian Open, and is one of a cavalcade of fast-rising pros from Scottsdale, Ariz. Trouble is, Tiger probably thinks Chez Reavie is a restaurant, not a golfer. Other first-time winners in the No-Tiger Era not on Tiger's radar: Parker McLachlin, Richard S. Johnson and Marc Turnesa.

Threat level: Low

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Shortly after putting a dent into Oak Hill Country Club's stingy reputation, Mark O'Meara was offered a chance to play "what if?"

If someone offered O'Meara a pair of even-par 70s over the final two rounds of the 69th Senior PGA Championship, would he take it?

"I'd like my chances," he said. "I wouldn't have a problem."

O'Meara, with a tournament-low round of 4-under 66 on Friday, vaulted into contention in a confidence-ravaged field that's as tight as the 7,001-yard East Course's fairways.

At 2-over 142 for the tournament, O'Meara's in a tie for fourth with Bernhard Langer. They're two shots off the lead that's now held by Tom Purtzer, a six-year Champions Tour veteran, who sounded as surprised as anyone to find himself alone in first at even-par 140.

"Well, it was a lot more fun that it was yesterday," Purtzer said after his round of 3 under.

As for his thoughts on how Oak Hill's playing, Purtzer said: "To me, it's borderline too difficult."

Tell that to the other 83 players who managed to make the eye-popping cut of 12-over heading into the final two rounds of the $2 million tournament this weekend.

The cut was the highest at a Senior PGA since 1990, when it was set at 13 over at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Purtzer and O'Meara were among only eight players that have posted a sub-par round this week in a tournament that remains wide open with 26 players within 6 shots of the lead.

There's Jay Haas and Massy Kuramoto tied for second, 1 shot off the pace.

Local favorite Jeff Sluman, who grew up playing Oak Hill, is alone at 143. And then there's a 10-player logjam at 145 which includes Greg Norman, Scott Hoch and defending Senior PGA champion Denis Watson.

Norman shot a 73 and, perhaps, best summed up how the day went when asked to assess his round.

"I don't know how I felt," said Norman, who counted his fiancee, tennis champion Chris Evert, as part of his gallery. "I felt I could've been 3 shots better easily. But it's not to be the case."

Purtzer at least enjoyed some good results during a five-birdie, two-bogey round. Starting on No. 10, he fell to 2-over with a bogey on No. 5 before closing strong with a 12-foot putt for birdie on No. 7 and a 25-footer for birdie on No. 9.

"I just feel fortunate to be here," said Purtzer, who has posted only two top-10 finishes in 11 events this season. "I feel pretty good about what I'm doing, so we'll just see what happens."

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