Friday's golf: McCarron, Ames weather rain, wind to take Senior PGA lead
Benton Harbor, Mich. — Scott McCarron didn’t have time to think about his surgically repaired left ankle on Friday. Mother Nature wouldn't let him.
“It was crazy,” McCarron said of the weather changes.
He shot a 5-under 66, including eight birdies, in the rain and wind at the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores to share the early second-round lead at 8-under 134 with Canada’s Stephen Ames, who also shot 66.
“Weather (when) we teed off … was not too bad,” McCarron said. “(It was) 60 (degrees) and then we got to the third hole, and I think it dropped 10 or 15 degrees.”
Ames, who was born in Trinidad, was not a big fan of the temperatures but still made six birdies in his final 11 holes to offset a double-bogey for the second straight day.
“It’s not my cup of tea,” Ames said. “I’m not a fan of the cold weather even though I lived in Canada. But I never went out and played golf in this.”
McCarron, whose 11 PGA Tour Champions victories includes the 2017 Seniors Players major title, is coming off major reconstruction surgery of his left ankle and has just one Top 25 finish this season in nine events. Ames, meanwhile, is 11th on the money list with $406,237 in earnings thanks to four Top 10 finishes.
Many other golfers struggled a day after somewhat ideal scoring conditions produced 56 sub-par rounds at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course near Lake Michigan.
Four were two strokes behind the leaders at a 6-under 136: rookie money-leader Steven Alker of New Zealand; PGA Tour Champions legend Bernhard Langer of Germany; Florida’s Brian Gay; and Canadian Mike Weir (71).
Another four golfers were at 5-under 137, including South Africa’s Ernie Els (70), Australia’s Rod Pampling (68) and Americans Paul Goydos (68) and Tracy Phillips (68).
Lake Orion's Tom Gillis, Tied 72, plus-4 after two rounds. Boyne's Jeff Roth is in 148th place at plus-21.
Forth Worth, Texas — This has been a good week in North Texas for Scott Stallings, first qualifying for the U.S. Open that will be played less than an hour from where he was born and now sharing the lead at Colonial with top-ranked Scottie Scheffler and Beau Hossler.
Stallings shot a 6-under 64 without a bogey on a relatively calm Friday at Hogan's Alley. That put the Massachusetts-born and 206th-ranked player in the world at 9-under 131 along with with Dallas-area resident Scheffler and former University of Texas player Hossler, who both had bogey-free 65s.
Scheffler, in one of the last groups of the day after Stallings and Hossler played in the morning wave, tied them with a 14-foot birdie putt at the par-4 17th and saved par at No. 18 after his final drive went left into the rough.
“I think I needed to put up a good score with the wind being real low and the greens being not crazy firm,” said Scheffler, without a bogey so far this week. “Yeah, I love that stat. It’s a lot of fun. ... I kept the stress off myself for the most part.”
It was calm pretty much throughout the day Friday. But hot and breezy conditions are expected for the weekend rounds at the Charles Schwab Classic, with gusts around 30 mph and temperatures in the mid- to upper-90s in the forecast.
Scheffler and Hossler were among the Colonial-record eight players to share the 18-hole lead at 66. Stallings began the second round as one of the seven others within a stroke of that.
Patrick Reed matched his opening 66 with another and was alone in fourth place at 8-under 132. Pat Perez (66) and Chris Kirk (67), the 2015 Colonial champion who hasn't won on the PGA Tour since, were 7 under.
After missing the cut at last week’s PGA Championship like Scheffler did, the 37-year-old Stallings came to the Dallas area to play in a 36-hole qualifier Monday for the U.S. Open next month in Brookline, Massachusetts. He shot 8 under and placed 11th to get into his third U.S. Open and 12th major overall.
Stallings had eight birdies and five bogeys in his first round at Colonial. There were no bogeys on Friday, and no birdies until four in the middle of the round — at Nos. 8, 9, 11 and 12. The three-time PGA Tour winner added another at No. 14, then finished by rolling in a 28-foot birdie putt.
No. 9 in the world Jordan Spieth shot a 66. He birdied his first two holes and had a 35-foot birdie putt when finishing on the ninth hole. Spieth was tied for 12th at 5 under.
The 2016 Colonial winner, Spieth was the runner-up at Hogan's Alley for the third time last year, when he led after each of the first three rounds before falling in a final-group showdown with Jason Kokrak the last day. Kokrak is even par through two rounds this year.
Fifth-ranked Justin Thomas missed the cut at 3 over a week after winning the PGA Championship for the second time. His 72 on Friday included going 6 over over a four-hole stretch midway through the round — bogeys at No. 7, 8 and 10, and triple-bogey 7 at No. 9 without going in the water.
It is the second year in a row the PGA winner played the following week at Colonial missed the cut. Last year it was Phil Mickelson.
Nick Taylor, ranked 244th in the world, took the solo lead for the second day in a row. The Canadian dropped into a share of the first-round lead with a bogey on his final hole, and Friday shot 6-over 41 on his final nine holes after five birdies in his first nine holes to make his turn at 9-under.