BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Duffy Waldorf shot a 4-under 68 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Jeff Sluman after the soggy, weather-delayed second round of the Regions Tradition, the second of five Champions Tour majors.
Waldorf had three birdies and a bogey on both the first nine holes and the last nine to top the Shoal Creek leaderboard at 9-under 135. The Champions Tour rookie also led after two rounds last week in Iowa in the Principal Charity Classic, but closed with a 1-under 71 to tie for third.
Sluman, the first-round leader, had a 71 with an eagle on the par-5 third hole, two birdies and three bogeys after matching his best opening round score on the Champions Tour with a 65.
Fred Couples, Mark Calcavecchia, Michael Allen and Canadian Rod Spittle were three strokes back. Couples had a 71, Calcavecchia and Allen shot 69, and Spittle had a 66.
Two-time defending champion Top Lehman was 4 under after a 71. He made a double bogey on 17 and a bogey on 18 in fading light.
Halfway leaders have won six of the last 26 72-hole tournaments on the Champions Tour dating back to the start of 2008 season. Roger Chapman was the last player to lead after 36 holes and go on to win when he claimed last year’s Senior PGA Championship, the first of five majors in 2012.
No 36-hole leader has gone on to win the Regions Tradition since 2003 when Tom Watson enjoyed a four-stroke lead through two rounds after carding a 10-under 62 on Friday. Watson actually trailed Jim Ahern by one stroke after three rounds, but rebounded to win on Sunday by one.
Four players have won their first Champions Tour events at the Regions Tradition – Jack Nicklaus (1990), Tom Kite (2000), Loren Roberts (2005) and Eduardo Romero (2006).
Rod Spittle’s eight birdies led to a 6-under 66, the best round of the day. Spittle was T6 at the Senior PGA Championship and he joins Duffy Waldorf as the only other player among the top-10 at the Regions Tradition (3rd) who finished among the top 10 at the Champions Tour’s first major of the year.
David Frost made six birdies today, but shot 70. He made just one par in his last 10 holes on Friday. Despite the up-and-down round, Frost finds himself just three strokes off the lead after his first 36 holes at Shoal Creek this week. Earlier this year, Frost won the Toshiba Classic.
Peter Senior (T4) is in position to end his long victory drought on the Champions Tour. Senior ($3,740,253) is second to only Joey Sindelar ($3,777,748) in most career money won on the Champions Tour without a victory. In 79 career starts on the Champions Tour, Senior has finished second five times and third five times. He lost a playoff to Tom Lehman at the 2011 Regions Tradition and also fell in overtime at the 2011 Songdo IBD Championship and 2012 Allianz Championship. Senior also was a runner-up in Birmingham in 2010 at the old Regions Charity Classic at Ross Bridge.
Tommy Armour III withdrew after the fourth hole today with an injured back. Armour shot 1-under 71 in the opening round at Shoal Creek yesterday. Brad Bryant withdrew from the event after the round with an injury. Bryant shot 78 on Friday and was T72 through 36 holes at the time of the withdrawal.