Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke find themselves four strokes off the lead heading into round two of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship after the pair each posted three-under par rounds of 68 at Harbor Shores Resort.
Harrington, playing in his second Major on the senior circuit, recorded four birdies and just one bogey on his card and he finds himself tied in 17th position alongside Clarke who had a more up and down day that included four birdies and a double bogey on his front nine before another birdie on the 11th was followed by pars all the way home.
At the top of the table, Steven Alker and Bob Estes share a one-stroke lead with American, Estes, carding seven birdies in a blemish-free round to set the target while New Zealander Alker birdied the final hole to join him on seven under par and move one stroke clear of 2003 Masters winner Mike Weir and American Paul Claxton.
Alker started the day by recording four birdies on the front nine and proceeded to trend in the same direction on the back nine with an eagle on the par five 10th hole and admits he was nervous on the first tee especially playing alongside two of golfs greats, Bernhard Langer and Ernie Els.
“Playing with Bernhard and Ernie, they are Hall of Famers,” he said. “Little jitters on the first tee, but no, I’m playing with nice freedom right now. I’m making birdies and being aggressive which today we could be because the greens were a bit softer and the course was softened up. It was kind of up there for the taking.
“Once I get going, I’m fine. But try not to watch what Bernhard is doing or Ernie is doing, so I’ve got to get a little focus on what I’m doing. I don’t want to get comfortable out here. I’m just enjoying my golf and enjoying competing against these guys.”
Four-time PGA Tour winner Estes has made a little adjustment to his setup and taken advantage of the strong parts of his game.
“I’ve always been a pretty good iron play, but I started driving it better on Tuesday even before the Pro-Am round in the afternoon and made a little adjustment to my setup and started hitting the driver, 3-wood and the 5-wood in particular, straighter. And so that’s been, putting me in good position for the most part. Take advantage of my iron game, which I’m usually pretty good at.”
Former Ryder Cup player Robert Karlsson sits in tied fifth position on five under par alongside four-time PGA Tour winner Duffy Waldorf. 10 players take up tied seventh position on four under par including three-time Legends Tour winner Thomas Levet, 28-time European Tour winner Ernie Els and 21-time European Tour winner Miguel Ángel Jiménez.
The second round will begin at 7:30am local time with Steven Alker teeing it up alongside Ernie Els and Bernhard Langer at 8:58am while Bob Estes will tee it up alongside Peter Fowler and Eric Chiles at 9:31am.
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