By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff
Weather: Mostly sunny, humid and breezy with highs near 90 degrees and winds from the SSE at 10-20 mph.
Second-Round Leaderboard: 1. Michael Allen 67-63--130 (-10); 2. Rocco Mediate 68-67--135 (-5);
3. Jeff Sluman 69-67--136 (-4); T4. Jeff Brehaut 69-68--137 (-3), Fred Funk 67-70--137 (-3); T6. Tom Lehman 67-71--138 (-2), Mark O’Meara 67-71--138 (-2)
A total of 64 players (63 professionals, 1 amateur) made the cut (low-60 and ties) which came at 5-over-par 145. Last year at Indianwood, a total of 66 players (64 professionals, 2 amateurs) advanced to play on the weekend in the U.S. Senior Open and the cut came at 4-over-par 144. This year’s cut score was the highest in a U.S. Senior Open since 2010 when the cut fell at 10-over 150.
Michael Allen (67-63--130/-10)
One day after a record seven players were tied for the first-round lead, Michael Allen now enjoys a five-stroke advantage after 36 holes, the largest margin in the history of the U.S. Senior Open. Allen birdied four of his first six holes and then rolled in a 60-foot eagle putt for good measure at the par-5 15th hole en route to a 7-under-par 63. Allen’s Friday round was the lowest second-round score in U.S. Senior Open history and was just one-stroke off the overall 18-hole low (Loren Roberts, 62/8-under, Rd. 3, 2006 @ Prairie Dunes CC). His 36-hole score of 10-under 130 also set a USGA scoring record for lowest total for the first two rounds of this championship.
This marks the first time Allen has led at the halfway mark of a major championship on the Champions Tour. He held the lead at the halfway point of the season-ending 2011 Charles Schwab Cup Championship, a 72-hole event at TPC Harding Park, but eventually finished T2.
Allen’s five-stroke advantage after two rounds of the U.S. Senior Open is the largest 36-hole lead in a senior major since Hale Irwin was up by seven strokes through two rounds at the 1997 Senior PGA Championship. The old record for largest 36-hole lead in the U.S. Senior Open was three strokes – Dale Douglass/1986, Billy Casper/1988, Dave Stockton/1992, Ed Dougherty/1999, Tom Watson/2007.
Allen enjoyed a five-stroke lead after 36 holes of the three-round Encompass Insurance Pro-Am of Tampa Bay in 2012 and went on to triumph by three shots.
Allen was no stranger to Omaha prior to this week’s U.S. Senior Open. He made six appearances in Nebraska’s largest city on the Web.com Tour and finished T16 in the 2003 Omaha Classic at The Champions Club.
Allen is making his fourth career appearance in the U.S. Senior Open this week. His previous-best position after 36 holes of this championship was third in 2011 at Inverness and he eventually finished T7. Allen’s overall best finish in a U.S. Senior Open was T6 in 2010 at Sahalee Country Club.
Allen is making his 14th appearance on the 2013 Champions Tour and won the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic in late March, his fourth career victory on the circuit. He also finished T4 two weeks ago in the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship and was T5 at the Regions Tradition…Also T20 at the Senior PGA Championship at Bellerive.
Allen won the 2009 Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club in his debut on the Champions Tour.
Second-Round Statistics at the U.S. Senior Open
The last seven majors on the Champions Tour have been won by someone other than the 36-hole leader/co-leader. The last leader/co-leader after two rounds of senior major to go on and win was Englishman Roger Chapman at the 2012 Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich. Chapman was tied with John Cook after two rounds and eventually won by two strokes. Two weeks ago at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club, Fred Couples enjoyed a four-stroke advantage after 36 holes, but eventually fell two strokes short of Kenny Perry, T2 along with Duffy Waldorf. It was Couples’ third consecutive runner-up effort on the Champions Tour.
U.S. Senior Open winners to lead after the first 36 holes – Dale Douglass (1986), Lee Trevino (1990), Simon Hobday (1994), Tom Weiskopf (1995), Dave Stockton (1997), Peter Jacobsen (2004), Bernhard Langer (2010), Olin Browne (2011).
The largest come-from-behind victory over the final 36 holes in a U.S. Senior Open is seven strokes by both Larry Laoretti/1992 at Saucon Valley CC (Old) and by Brad Bryant/2007 at Whistling Straits.
Both Gary Player and Fred Funk won the U.S. Senior Open by six strokes, the largest winning margin in the history of the championship. Player triumphed by six shots in 1987 at Brooklawn Country Club, Fairfield, Conn. While Funk won by six in 2009 at Crooked Stick Golf Club, Carmel, Ind.
Champions Tour rookie Rocco Mediate is currently in second place after 36 holes in his first U.S. Senior Open. Mediate, a playoff loser to Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, is trying to become the ninth player to win in his first U.S. Senior Open appearance – Roberto DeVicenzo (1980), Arnold Palmer (1981), Dale Douglass (1986), Lee Trevino (1990), Larry Laoretti (1992), Don Pooley (2002), Peter Jacobsen (2004), Roger Chapman (2012). Mediate had the only bogey-free round today.
Gary Koch, best known now for role as an analyst on NBC golf telecasts, is accounting himself quite well outside of the announcer’s booth this week. Koch, a six-time winner on the PGA TOUR, stands T8 after 36 holes of the U.S. Senior Open, shooting 68 today for a two-round total of 1-under 139. Koch made it through the sectional qualifier to earn a spot in this week’s championship and it marked a span of 45 years that he’s played in USGA championships. Koch first played in a USGA event when he was 15 years old at the 1968 U.S. Junior Amateur at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. and he was the medalist.
Doug Hanzel of Savannah, Ga. was the lone amateur to make the cut this year. Hanzel made the cut at last year’s U.S. Senior Open and eventually finished T53. In 2011, he played in the U.S. Senior Open but missed the cut. He’s a 4-over 144 through two rounds this year at Omaha Country Club. Hanzel played in 10 U.S. Amateur Championships spanning four decades and also played in the 2006 and 2009 U.S. Mid-Amateur. Hanzel is a physician and specializes in pulmonary critical care.
Loren Roberts made the biggest move among the players in the field, jumping 69 spots in the standings into a T35 after shooting a 3-under 67. Willie Wood rose 62 spots thanks to a 2-under 68 today and is now T35. Two-time U.S. Senior Open champion Hale Irwin, 68, jumped 45 places into a T35 after posting a 69 today. Irwin now has 27 sub-par rounds in his U.S. Senior Open career, passing Jack Nicklaus for most in the championship’s history. Irwin birdied three of his last four holes of the round to achieve this.
Scoring averages at the par-70 Omaha Country Club.
Front 9 Back 9 Total
Round 1 36.800 37.192 73.987
Round 2 36.732 37.336 74.053
The most difficult hole through the first two rounds of this year’s U.S. Senior Open is the par-4 8th hole (4.649). Playing at 477 yards, the par-4 8th has yielded just seven birdies. The 494-yard par-4 10th hole (4.589) at Omaha Country Club has played as the second most difficult for the field through the first 36 holes, also yielding just seven birdies.
Lance Ten Broeck, the 36-hole leader at last year’s U.S. Senior Open at Indianwood, made the cut on the number after shooting a 1-over 71 today.
Five former U.S. Open champions made the cut – Tom Watson/140, Corey Pavin/142, Hale Irwin/143, Tom Kite/145, Larry Nelson/145 while five former U.S. Senior Open winners will play the weekend – Fred Funk/137, Bernhard Langer/142, Eduardo Romero/142, Hale Irwin/143, Don Pooley/143. Defending champion Roger Chapman missed the cut with a score of 10-over 150. It marked the first time since Allen Doyle in 2007 that a defending champion missed the cut.
All three of the major winners this year made the cut in the U.S. Senior Open this year – Kohki Idoki (Senior PGA Championship) is T35, David Frost (Regions Tradition) is T25 and Kenny Perry (Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS) is T10 after 36 holes.
Former U.S. Senior Open champion Graham Marsh (hip injury) and former U.S. Open champion Jerry Pate (medical condition) withdrew prior to the start of their second rounds.