THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) – Gene Sauers chipped in for birdie on the par-4 17th a day after making a double bogey on the hole, and finished with a 6-under 66 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead in the Champions Tour's Insperity Championship.
Sauers hit into the water on the 17th hole Friday, but atoned for the mistake Saturday with a 25-yard chip.
“I didn't know whether to flop it or bump-and-run it or anything like that,'' Sauers said. “So, I just went ahead with my bread and butter like when I was a kid, just hit my sand wedge and hit it perfect.''
The 50-year-old Sauers, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour who is making his 10th career start on the 50-and-over tour, had an 8-under 136 total at The Woodlands Country Club.
First-round leader Mike Goodes was second after his second straight 69.
Goodes made a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 16 and parred the final two holes.
“I played good,'' Goodes said. “I made a great birdie for me (on 16), a nice 7-iron about 10 feet right of the hole and hit a really good putt in the hole. Then two good pars on 17 and 18 and I was glad to get in where I was.''
Only five players were under par, the lowest total after 36 holes in a Champions Tour event since the 2003 Verizon Classic at Tampa when three players were under par.
Loren Roberts was 3 under after a 69. Peter Senior (70) and Esteban Toledo (71) were 1 under, and Barry Lane had a 67 to top the group of five players at even par.
Goodes and Sauers dueled through much of the round, never separated by more than two shots.
Sauers ran in short putts for birdies on the first two holes and also had birdie putts of 3 feet on No. 6 and 15 feet on No. 8, but he hit a bad bunker shot and two-putted for a bogey on No. 9.
He trailed Goodes by one shot going to the final nine.
Sauers pulled even when Goodes three-putted from 18 feet on the par-4 11th.
Sauers charged from that point with three birdies over the final five holes, including his get-even birdie on No. 17.
“Luckily, it went in,'' Sauers said. “It probably would have been about 6 or 8 feet by. I got a break there.''
Weather again was a factor although the wind didn't gust to 30 mph as they did Friday.
“This is a great tough golf course,'' Goodes said. “You get some wind and pretty firm greens, and they have done a fabulous job, the superintendent here.
“There's a lot of great, great players on the Champions Tour, and for that few people to be under par after two rounds is a testament to the course. And also, I think the two of us are under par, we're playing pretty darned good, too.''