David Peoples shot an eight-under-par 62 yesterday, including 29 on the back nine, to take a two-shot lead at the halfway point of the Southern Open. Peoples had a 36-hole total of 129 over the 6,775-yard Green Island Country Club course in Columbus, Ga., two strokes better than PGA Tour rookie Jeff Wilson (62 yesterday) and Kenny Knox (64).

Another stroke back was Frank Conner (68). First-round leader Howard Twitty's 71 dropped him four shots back at 133 along with Buddy Gardner (66) and Nolan Henke (66), winner of last week's B.C. Open.

Bob Tway was at 134 after a second straight 67 and home town favorite Larry Mize had 71 -- 135. Defending champion Ted Schulz shot 70 -- 138.

Peoples, who joined the Tour in 1983, has had to go to qualifying school each year, never earning enough money to keep his card. He was medalist in the 1989 school and is enjoying his finest year by far with more than $197,000.

The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Peoples had seven birdies, an eagle and one bogey in a round one shot off the tournament record held by three players, the most recent Dave Barr in 1988. "I've been real consistent all year after struggling for seven years," said Peoples, whose best finish was a tie for third this year in Houston.

Seniors: Defending champion Bob Charles shot seven-under-par 65 for the first-round lead in the Space Coast Classic in Melbourne, Fla. Charles's eight-birdie, one-bogey round put the left-hander a shot ahead of Mike Hill, Bob Rawlins and Dale Douglass at the 6,590-yard Suntree Country Club course.

"After the wind died down, it was like throwing darts," Charles said of greens softened by overnight rains. "The golf course was at our mercy. There was no fire in the golf course."

He had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the back nine, including 12-foot birdies at Nos. 16 and 17. He also had 30-foot birdie chip-ins at the third and eighth holes.

Hill lost a chance to tie for the lead but took a three-putt bogey at 18.