Browne still in front at Inverness
Toledo, OH (Sports Network) - Olin Browne birdied the final two holes Friday to stay atop the leaderboard during the suspended second round of the U.S. Senior Open.
Browne, the first-round leader after an impressive 64, finished 36 holes at nine-under 133 and is one stroke clear of Mark O'Meara, who had a 68 Friday at Inverness Club.
Michael Allen, the 2009 Senior PGA Champion, bogeyed two of his last three holes in round two and finished with a two-under 69. He is tied for third place with Mark Calcavecchia (67) and Joey Sindelar (66).
Heavy storms delayed the start of the second round not every player finished it. They will be back at 7:15 a.m. (et) to finish play, followed by the cut and the third round.
"The course, I thought, held up great," said Browne. "Even though the fairways were softer, they didn't hold a lot of water. I don't know how much rain we got earlier. The greens were quite soft. But I thought the course was set up significantly more difficult today."
Browne handled the conditions well on Friday and broke into red figures with an 18-foot birdie putt at the second hole. He birdied the sixth for the second consecutive round.
He was at nine-under par, chugging along, before disaster struck at the seventh.
Browne drove under a tree and couldn't do any better than advance the ball into the rough. He made a double-bogey at No. 7, dropping him down the leaderboard.
"The worst shot of the week," Browne said of his tee ball there. "Just pitched it in the rough. I had nowhere to go, so I ended up making an easy six there."
Browne immediately atoned for the error with a 12-foot birdie putt at the par- five eighth.
After five pars around the turn, Browne drove into the rough at 14 and missed the green right. That resulted in a bogey and he fell down to seven-under par for the championship.
But it was Browne's finish that netted him first place near the midway point.
Browne hit a six-iron to five feet and cashed in on the birdie try at No. 17. At the last, Browne wedged his approach to six feet and rolled in the putt for the 36-hole lead.
"I was able to get some birdies early, which made up for my errant seventh hole," said Browne. "I didn't play as well as I did yesterday, but I managed to shake it in under par and that's a good thing."
Browne hasn't won anywhere since the 2005 Deutsche Bank Championship on the PGA Tour. Now, he'll be the leader after two rounds of the most prestigious event on the Champions Tour.
"I didn't know what to expect," admitted Browne. "I hadn't played here before. I wasn't here for the PGAs and I wasn't 50 in '03. I know this is a chop buster of a golf course. It's just a really, really cool layout."
O'Meara is a major champion on both the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour. He captured the Masters and British Open in 1998, then took home the Senior Players Championship last year.
On Friday, O'Meara began on the 10th tee and tallied two birdies and a bogey on his first nine. One of those birdies was at 18 and O'Meara birdied the first two holes on the second side for three in a row.
O'Meara reached eight-under par, but a bogey at six temporarily derailed his run. He got a stroke back at the par-five eighth and will be one behind after two rounds.
"I'm pleased with today," said O'Meara. "I hit a couple of poor ones out there, but overall I felt like I stayed in the game pretty well. Besides just a couple of shots that I didn't really like, I was pleased with the round."
Peter Senior shot a four-under 67 and is alone in sixth at minus-six. Corey Pavin, Trevor Dodds and Kiyoshi Murota each had two-under 69s on Friday and are tied for seventh at five-under 137.
Former U.S. Open winners Steve Jones and Larry Nelson headline a group tied for 10th at four-under 138.
NOTES: Defending champion Bernhard Langer shot a two-under 69 and is part of a group tied for 16th at three-under par...Calcavecchia can get some revenge after last week when he held a piece of the lead after the first three rounds of the Senior British Open, but lost...Russ Cochran won at Walton Heath and he had a two-under 69 to join Langer in the logjam at minus-three...The 36-hole cut looks like it will fall at two-over par and John Cook, Jerry Pate and Eduardo Romero will miss the mark.
07/29 22:00:41 ET