TURNBERRY, Scotland -- There are good rounds in golf and then there are great rounds. Friday at Turnberry, Gary Hallberg orchestrated one of those great rounds.
Faced with brisk winds which blew at 15-20 mph with some gusts near 25 mph at times during the day, Hallberg fashioned an impressive 7-under 63 that gives him a three-shot lead after two rounds of the Senior British Open.
"I played aggressively today and had some great putts go in," said Hallberg, who is just one of six players to capture wins on the PGA TOUR, Web.com Tour and Champions Tour. "I missed some putts, probably six, seven feet today and started to get nervous a bit at the end. I haven't been nervous in a while, but it's nice to get to that point where you can get that nervous. I had that putt on the last hole and I wanted that real bad."
Hallberg was referring to his putt at No. 18, a 10-footer for birdie which would have tied the tournament 18-hole scoring record set in 2003 by Jim Colbert here at Turnberry.
"It would have been nice to tie the course record," Hallberg said. "I had a chance on that putt at 18 and I said to my caddie, 'it looks uphill' and he says, 'no, I don't think so'. I didn't want to hear that. I left it kind of weak, short. It wasn't hit hard enough. I can't complain though. You can't make them all. It was one of the best days I've had in many years on the golf course. It was just a pleasure."
Despite his miss at the final hole, Hallberg's round was even more remarkable considering the conditions that frustrated players all day. He was just one of two players to finish under par on Friday. Fred Couples was the other, shooting a 2-under 68 to reach even-par for the week. Couples also played in the morning wave.
Hallberg had started Thursday's round looking like he would not be here on the weekend, posting a 5-over 40 on his front nine. However he righted the ship and has played his last 27 holes in 11 under.
"I was 5 over the first day after nine holes and I thought 'you know I'm not playing that bad, I'm playing good. I just couldn't get it going'," Hallberg said. "But I hung in there and played a great back nine. Today I started with a bogey when I missed a four-footer at No. 2 which hurt, but then, boy, I just had the confidence. I think the 40 helped me because it turned me around mentally to go play aggressively."
NOTES: Hallberg's three-shot advantage matches the largest 36-hole lead in tournament history, established in 2009 by Fred Funk.This also marks the first time in Hallberg's 90-start Champions Tour career that he has held an overnight lead. Sleeping on the lead won't be completely foreign territory for Hallberg in this part of the world. He shared the 36-hole lead at the 1991 British Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, eventually finishing tied for 32nd.