Funk leads Regions Tradition entering weekend
Fires 7-under 65 in Round 2 at Greystone Golf & Country Club in season's first major
May 19, 2017
By The Associated Press
Fred Funk shoots 65 to take one-shot lead at Regions TraditionIn the second round of the 2017 Regions Tradition, Fred Funk notched 8 birdies on the day to take a one-shot lead over Scott Parel.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Fred Funk shot a 7-under 65 on Friday to take the second-round lead in the Regions Tradition.
The 60-year-old Funk, seeking his first PGA TOUR Champions individual title since 2012, had a one-stroke lead over Scott Parel in the first of the PGA TOUR Champions' five majors.
Funk birdied three of the five par 3s at Greystone, the last on No. 17, and finished at 12-under 132. That followed a string of three birdies that ended at No. 14, and set up a third-round pairing for the two friends.
"The irony is Scott and I have become really good buddies and I've never played with him yet," Funk said after his lowest round of the season. "I was just thinking, 'Boy, it would be nice to play with him in the last round, last group.' I've got him, so that works out really good.
"I think combined we're not 6 foot (tall), but that's OK."
The 5-foot-5 Parel, who turned pro at 31 and won co-medalist honors at Q-school in 2016, shot a 66.
Parel gained entry after Fred Couples withdrew late last week. He made a long putt to save par on No. 18, extending his bogey-free streak to 32 holes.
Parel said his 7:30 a.m. start "was a perfect tee time."
"I had a great pairing, twosomes, set your own pace," he said. "Greens are fresh. That's about right where you want to be."
The third round Saturday will have a two-tee start because of expected bad weather.
Scott McCarron, part of a four-way tie for the first-round lead, was three shots back after a 70. He three-putted the final hole for par.
"I had 45 feet just coming down the hill and almost made it," McCarron said. "I thought I made it, but the ball just rolled out about 6 feet past actually and then (I) missed the next come-backer. The breeze is coming back in your face so it's a tough drive, and with that hole location being on the front of the green, it's tough to get it close."
He had his second eagle of the week on the par-5 13th.
Funk had an up-and-down week in preparation for the major. He said he had eight birdies and no bogeys Monday and two days later "played horrible" in a pro-am.
"I was really bad," Funk said. "My whole body shut down. I couldn't swing. No matter what I did, my body wouldn't let me do what I wanted to do. And I got about 10 hours sleep that night and got worked on a little bit and I've been fighting. My back's been getting really tight. I felt a lot better (Thursday) and I felt good today, so hopefully it will hold out."
Kenny Perry (70), Jeff Sluman (71), Kevin Sutherland (68) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (71) were at 8 under overall.
Perry, the 2014 winner, had a bogey on the final hole that could have been worse. He had to take a drop after his second shot went into the hazard. Perry was grateful that he was warned against his initial spot "because somebody would have called in, 'Hey, that guy just had an illegal drop.' "
Defending champion Bernhard Langer was five shots back after his second straight 69. Insperity Invitational winner John Daly was 2 under after a pair of 71s.
Scott McCarron sinks lengthy eagle putt at Regions Tradition
NOTEBOOK: ROUND 2
Fred Funk, 67-65 – 132 (-12)
• Funk carded eight birdies in the day’s lowest round, a 7-under 65. It’s his lowest round of the season, and lowest since he shot 7-under 64 in the final round of the 2016 Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship.
• He is 4-under on the par 3s this week, tied with Lee Janzen for best in the field.
• Funk needed just 46 putts through 36 holes, the fewest in the field. On the year, he averages 28.70 putts per round, which ranks T25 on Tour.
• He has three career wins in PGA TOUR Champions majors. He won the Regions Tradition in 2008 and 2010 when it was played at the Crosswater Club at Sunriver Resort in Oregon, and he won the 2009 U.S. Senior Open.
• This is the third time Funk has held the 36-hole lead in a senior major. He led midway through the 2008 U.S. Senior Open (finished second) and the 2009 Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex (finished T2).
• Funk has three top-10s this season and is currently 13th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
Second-Round Lead Notes
• Nine 36-hole leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win the Regions Tradition. Most recently, Jeff Maggert held at least a share of the lead after every round en route to his win in 2015.
• At the majors in 2016, Rocco Mediate was the only 36-hole leader/co-leader to go on to win. He won the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship wire-to-wire.
Scott Parel, 67-66 – 133 (-11)
• Making his first start at the Regions Tradition, Parel gained entry after Fred Couples withdrew late last week.
• On the par-5 18th hole Friday, Parel made a 45-foot putt to save par after he hit his second shot into a greenside hazard. He has played his last 32 holes bogey-free, as his only bogey of the tournament came Thursday on No. 4.
• Through 36 holes, he has hit 31 greens in regulation. On the year, he ranks 55th in that category (68.52%).
• Despite being 5’5” tall, the second-shortest player on Tour, Parel is the sixth-longest player off the tee (293.3). Through two rounds, his measured drives (No. 8, No. 13) have averaged 310.5 yards, which is eighth in the field.
• Parel, 52, was a co-medalist at PGA TOUR Champions Q-School last December, and he is playing his first season with fully exempt status.
• He made just five starts during his PGA TOUR career ($11,660 in winnings), and on the Web.com Tour he won once in 221 starts ($701,772). In 22 starts on PGA TOUR Champions, he has made $474,621.
Scott McCarron, 65-70 – 135 (-9)
• McCarron eagled the par-5 13th Friday, his second eagle of the week and his Tour-leading 10th of the season. Of the eight stroke-play tournaments this season, McCarron has an eagle in six of them. In February, he won by one stroke after he eagled the 54th hole at the Allianz Championship.
• This is McCarron’s second appearance at the Regions Tradition. He finished sixth in his debut last year.
• Last year in the PGA TOUR Champions majors, he posted three top-10s, including a runner-up finish at The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex.
• Since McCarron won the Principal Charity Classic last June, he and Bernhard Langer are the only two players that have won three times on PGA TOUR Champions.
• In 2017, he has one win and three top-10s, and he is fifth in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
Other Player Notes
• Through two rounds, Kenny Perry has hit 24 of 26 fairways. He carded a 2-under 70 on Friday and is tied for fourth at 8-under. Perry won the 2014 Regions Tradition when it was played at Shoal Creek. Last year, he led after 36 holes but faltered with rounds of 74-77 on the weekend, eventually finishing T23.
• Kevin Sutherland posted his second-straight 68 and is T4 at 8-under. Sutherland has posted nine straight top-10s, dating back to the final two events of last season. Overall, he has 30 top-10s in 62 starts, though he has yet to claim victory on PGA TOUR Champions.
• Miguel Angel Jimenez carded a 1-under 71, his 21st consecutive round under-par, and he’s T4 at 8-under. Entering this week, Jimenez had top-10 finishes in each of his last five tournaments. He is currently third in the Schwab Cup standings.
• Jeff Sluman carded a 1-under 71 and is T4 at 8-under. He is making his 10th straight start at the Regions Tradition, and his best finish was a tie for seventh in 2012. He is currently 15th in the Schwab Cup standings.
• Rod Spittle earned entry by virtue of his position in the current Charles Schwab Cup standings (34th). His second-round 69 was highlighted by a hole-out from the fairway on No. 11 for eagle, and he enters the third round in T8 at 7-under. He has two top-10s in four starts this season.
• Defending champion Bernhard Langer shot 69 for the second day in a row, and he’s T10 at 6-under.
• Colin Montgomerie is T10 after shooting a second-round 69, extending his streak to 35 consecutive rounds of par or better. The PGA TOUR Champions record is 38, set by Jay Haas in 2014. Earlier this season, Montgomerie missed more than two months due to a left ankle injury (torn ligaments).
• John Huston withdrew during the second round on the fifth hole.
Eight past champions are in the field:
- David Frost – T21 (-4)
- Fred Funk – 1st (-12)
- Tom Kite – T70 (+7)
- Bernhard Langer – T10 (-6)
- Tom Lehman – T8 (-7)
- Jeff Maggert – T48 (+1)
- Kenny Perry – T4 (-8)
- Loren Roberts – T53 (+2)