Eighteen years after winning the U.S. Open for the only major victory of his career, Jim Furyk is halfway to another USGA-bestowed title.
On a Friday when only eight players shot under par at the USGA’s setup of Omaha Country Club, Jim Furyk put together the round of the day, a 6-under 64 that rocketed him 43 places up the leaderboard and into the 36-hole lead at the U.S. Senior Open.
Furyk, 51, is at 4-under 136 for the championship, two strokes ahead of Canada’s Stephen Ames and three in front of Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez. The trio were the only players under par through two days.
Despite battling some gusting winds in the morning, Furyk hit 12 of 13 fairways in regulation and finished without a bogey. The 17-time PGA Tour winner cited a 30-foot par save on the par-3 third hole as a crucial moment for his round. All six of his birdies came after the third.
“I was able to see some putts go in, and I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens today, kept the ball in good places,” Furyk said. “When I missed it, I missed it in the right spots for the most part, outside of No. 3, and there I made a 30-footer. Just really kind of got on a roll and got some momentum.”
Only one player posted a number close to Furyk’s — Greg Kraft, whose 5-under 65 pulled him up to a 10-way tie for fourth at even par. The group at even includes Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and 67-year-old Jay Haas, the oldest player in the field.
Haas turned in a 1-over 71 a day after nearly shooting his age with a 1-under 69. He was asked in his postgame press conference if he’d consider himself the Phil Mickelson of the Champions Tour.
“Or he was the Jay Haas of the PGA Tour,” Haas replied. “You know, there’s such a long way to go, but I’m playing OK. I don’t think I’m playing just amazingly — golf that I can’t even fathom. I can play better, I think, but I have to do it.
“If I learned anything watching Phil, it was his demeanor. He seemed to be very focused and very single-minded when he was out there. Each shot was like his last shot, and I think, if anything that I learned, it was that. Just take it one at a time.”
Ames, one of two co-leaders after Thursday, followed a first-round 65 with a second-round 73 to slip behind Furyk. The other co-leader, Billy Andrade, fared worse with a 5-over 75 that dropped him into the tie at even par.
Germany’s Alex Cejka (74 on Friday), who won the first two majors of the season, dropped into a tie for 14th at 1 over. Fellow German Bernhard Langer (72) and South African Ernie Els (70) are among those tied for 31st at 3 over.
Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain (8 over overall), Kenny Perry (9 over), Chris DiMarco (10 over) and Fred Funk (14 over) were among the notables to miss the 7-over cut line.
–Field Level Media
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