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Fred Couples takes over the half way lead

Fred Couples defied windy afternoon conditions to shoot a 4-under 68 on Friday and take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Senior PGA Championships.

In a leaderboard packed with big names, Couples was a 7-under 137 to lead by a stroke from Tom Kite (69), with Tom Lehman (71) a further stroke back, and Lue Chien-soon (70) and Jay Don Blake (69) three shots off the pace.

Bernhard Langer, the co-leader along with Robin Freeman after the first round, was making an impressive charge on the back nine until a double-bogey on No. 17 and a bogey on 18 left him with a 3-over 75, same as Freeman.

They are tied with Nick Price (71), four shots off the pace.

All those familiar names had Couples harkening back to the 1990s when this group of golfers made a name for themselves on the PGA Tour.

“It’s a great leaderboard, that’s for sure,” Couples said. “A lot of great players.”

After turning the requisite 50-years-old in October, Couples has energized the Champions Tour, winning half of the six events he’s entered this season.

He’s trying to become the 12th golfer to win the Senior PGA Championship on his first attempt, something Kite came tantalizingly close to doing himself in 2000, when he finished second to Doug Tewell. Kite is aiming for one of golf’s true rarities, winning a tournament in his 60s. Of the 915 tournaments in Champions Tour history, only 18 have been won by hexagenerians.

“I have that as a goal,” the 60-year-old Kite said. “I work hard on my conditioning and my game to try to make it last and I’m very pleased with where my game is right now. I think that at some point I will win in my 60s. And I look forward to that day. I hope it’s this weekend.”

If he etches his name into the silver trophy that awaits the winner Sunday along with a $360,000 cut of the $2 million purse, Kite will become the oldest golfer to win the Senior PGA championship since the Champions Tour began in 1980.

Hale Irwin was three days shy of his 59th birthday when he won it in 2004.

Scores

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