Clarke falls back as Richard Bland leads on senior major debut

Ronan MacNamara

Darren Clarke (Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Darren Clarke fell back on day two of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship as play was delayed for the afternoon due to potentially dangerous weather.

Clarke will have to return to the golf course at Harbour Shores from three-under which is one-over for his round after 12 holes and he trails Richard Bland by nine shots.

Bland, who won his first DP World Tour title at 48, shot a 66 on Friday to set the target at 12-under in the Englishman’s senior major debut.

Bland had a one-shot lead over Scott Dunlap after the morning wave, and it looked as though it would hold up as the 36-hole lead before play came to a halt.

Chris DiMarco (65) is three shots behind. Among those still on the course was former Open champion Stewart Cink who was six-under with a pair of par fives to come.

Bland has been leaning on his driving accuracy, even as he waits for his putter to warm up on the tricky Jack Nicklaus-designed greens.

“As I was hitting my tee shot — literally as I was starting my downswing — a fly came straight across the ball,” Bland said. “I saw it and I hit it in the left trap. For that hole, I would’ve been reaching that, especially with it being downwind and off the right. I could have probably hit maybe even iron into that hole today.”

Dunlap, who won earlier this year on the PGA TOUR Champions, carded seven birdies in a round of 65.

“That’s as good of golf as I’ve got,” Dunlap said. “Obviously, I won recently, so got a little bit of confidence, maybe figured a few things out. But my track record around here has been a little wanting, so I guess maybe I hadn’t used up any of good golf. It’s kind of all come out in these two rounds. See what we have left in the tank for the final two.”

Pádraig Harrington was in better form on Friday and he moved from three-over to level-par.

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