Funk shares 36-hole lead, looks to return to winner's circleWinless since 2010, Fred Funk shares the 54-hole lead with Tom Lehman in Houston.May 05, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) -- Fred Funk's game is rounding into form just in time for the thick of the Champions Tour season.
He wouldn't mind kick-starting his summer with a victory in early May, either.
Funk shot a 3-under 69 in sweltering heat Saturday for a share of the second-round lead with Tom Lehman in the Insperity Championship presented by UnitedHealthcare.
"I'm playing really good. I'm really pleased with where I am," Funk said. "I'm doing all the stuff I need to do. I'm really excited about where I am, regardless of what happens (Sunday), with all the big stuff coming up."
Lehman followed his opening 65 with a 70 to match Funk at 9-under 135 on The Tournament Course at The Woodlands. Funk is seeking his first Champions Tour win since the 2010 Regions Tradition and he can tack on a unique distinction along with it.
Funk won the 1992 Houston Open on this course, and he can become the first player to win a PGA TOUR event and a Champions Tour title at the same place since Tom Watson won the 1980 British Open and the 2007 Senior British Open at Muirfield.
Funk has only one top-10 finish in five Champions Tour starts this year. He also has missed the cuts in two of four starts on the regular tour.
"It's fun to be back in contention and be in the mix," Funk said. "I just want to be in the mix."
Lehman and Funk played together Saturday and were never separated by more than one shot on the leaderboard. Lehman made three bogeys on his back nine, but moved back to 9 under with a birdie on No. 17.
"You have birdie holes out here, but there's a lot of good holes, too, where you can get in trouble," Lehman said.
Goodes made four straight birdies on the back nine. He was 10 under heading into the last hole, but he dunked his 7-iron approach in the water and took a double bogey. The 55-year-old Goodes is seeking his first victory since 2009.
"Every tournament is a major to me," Goodes said.
Bryant made six birdies and two bogeys on his round. The 57-year-old Bryant hasn't won since 2007.
"I'd rather be leading by 12, but that's OK," Bryant said. "I think it's fun for the gallery when you have that many guys in the hunt. We're fan-friendly, we want to keep the scores close together for the fans."
Big 3 compete at Insperity
Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino participated in a special competition after the final tee time of regular play.
Two years ago, Fred Couples shot a final-round 63 to win the event at 17 under. And Funk and Lehman are both expecting a shootout Sunday.
That's why it's a funny course to play," Lehman said. "It gives you opportunities, but you have to take advantage of them. There is always going to be somebody 4 or 5 or 6 under. Somebody's going to do it, you just hope it's you."
J.L. Lewis had a hole-in-one on the 189-yard par-3 16th hole, the first ace in the tournament's history.
The main attraction Saturday was the grouping of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player in an exhibition scramble. Palmer curled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole, prompting a roar from the massive gallery that followed the greats all day. The team of Nicklaus, Palmer and Player won the three-team event at 11 under.
Goodes finished in time to join the crowd and get a glimpse of the greats. He never played on the regular tour, keeping his amateur status until turning pro in 2007.
"I'm just a typical fan," Goodes said. "They're my idols, they've been my idols since I was a little bitty kid. I just wish I was, in a way, 10 years older where I could've played in a couple of tournaments with them."