The Senior Players Championship finally had the look and feel of a major championship yesterday.
Overnight rain and a northeast wind put some teeth into the course at the TPC of Michigan and Australian Graham Marsh needed all his skill -- and a little bit of luck -- to craft a 2-under-par 70 for 136 and a two-stroke lead after two rounds of play in Dearborn, Mich.
Hale Irwin, Larry Nelson, Argentina's Vicente Fernandez, Japan's Isao Aoki and South Africa's John Bland were tied for second at 138.
"I thought some of the pin placements were very tough today, given the wind," said Marsh, who managed to save par at the first hole despite hitting a tree with his second shot. "That made me very tentative."
Aoki's 5-under 67 tied for the day's best round. Gary McCord followed an opening-round 74 with a 67, including a birdie on 17, when he stood in a fairway water hazard to hit his second shot.
Meanwhile, Jack Nicklaus rode a golf cart in competition for the first time yesterday. Nicklaus, who had hip-replacement surgery in January, rode for about half the holes while shooting 74.
"The hip is fine, but everything around it is a little sore," said Nicklaus, who argued against the use of carts in the Casey Martin case. "I'll probably ride a little bit Saturday and Sunday, too." Nicklaus was one of several golfers who spoke out against the court ruling that allowed Martin to use a cart on the PGA Tour and in the U.S. Open.
PGA: Chris Perry, a reliable money-winner despite only one PGA Tour victory in 399 career starts, shot a 5-under 66 and was tied with Jeff Maggert for the lead midway through the Buick Classic in Harrison, N.Y.
The leaders were at 6-under 136, one stroke better than first-round leader Stephen Ames, who survived a bogey-bogey-double bogey start to shoot a 72, and Duffy Waldorf, who had a 67.
PGA CLUB PROFESSIONAL: Rick Schuller of Centreville shot a 4-under-par 68 to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds in Haven, Wis.