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October 21 2011

9:20 PM

Tickets gone but Allen contends

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Michael Allen's two daughters are teenagers now and they have all but outgrown Mickey Mouse. In fact, he's been a popular man this week at Disney since he's given all his theme park tickets away.

"They actually love it, but with school now, high school and all that," Allen said, his voice trailing off as he talked about his family.

Of course, they surely wouldn't mind returning to Disney for the 13th time next year if Allen were defending a title at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. And he will start the weekend just three strokes off the pace in his quest to win for the first time on the PGA TOUR.

Allen, who plays the bulk of his golf on the Champions Tour now, fired a 66 on the Palm Course to move to 9 under. The 52-year-old made seven birdies and two bogeys while hitting 17 greens on Friday.

"I mean, really I'm not doing anything phenomenal driving the ball well and I've been putting pretty well the last couple weeks," Allen said. "That's really coming around, so I'm getting a lot of confidence. I'm not really making a lot putts, but I'm not missing ones I should be making. Made a six-footer or two over the last few days to save some pars."

Allen, who won his first start on the Champions Tour at the Senior PGA Championship, is one of four players in the field at Disney who are over 50 -- and all four are likely to make the cut. The other three are Tom Pernice Jr., who is 7 under, Mark Calcavecchia (3 under) and Tom Lehman (3 under). 
 
"Nice thing out there is when you play well you have a chance to compete and have a chance to win," Allen said. "So that in itself is a lot of fun. You know, we're not dead yet. We can still play. A lot of good players out there still, so it's been fun. It keeps you playing all the time, and it's a great time out there."

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