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NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- On a day at Aronimink Golf Club most players thought would be their best chance to go low all week, the lowest anyone got was 4-under 66. But for Gil Morgan, one of two players to post that score, it was good enough to grab a share of the lead after two rounds of the 64th Senior PGA Championship.
Morgan actually carded six birdies Friday en route to his two-day total of 4-under 136, where he was joined by 1999 Senior PGA champ Allen Doyle after his 67. But Morgan also had bogeys on the par-4 third and 18th holes; he has bogeyed the third both of his first two days.
The other 66 Friday came from Japanese star Seiji Ebihara. After his opening 72, he sits at 2-under 138, two off the pace. Ebihara -- who got Arnold Palmer to autograph his visor midway through the second round -- brought home one of the day’s most colorful scorecards, with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2, another on the fifth hole and three more in a row from the 11th to go with bogeys on the third and seventh.
No one else near the top of the leaderboard had rounds as good as those 66s, and for the second straight day only 10 players managed to end the day under par.
Among those were John Jacobs, who added a 1-under 69 Friday to his opening 68 to hit the halfway point at 3-under 137 and alone in third place. Ebihara, Tom Kite and reigning Senior PGA Club Professional champ Mike San Filippo are tied for fourth at 2-under 138.
Kite had three bogeys Friday, but countered them with three birdies and an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole. San Filippo, a longtime PGA Professional who just might be the biggest surprise of the tournament so far, put together his second straight 69 Friday, thanks mostly to a 2-under 33 on his front nine that included three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the third.
Among the early starters, Wayne Levi moved to 1-under 139 with a 69 Friday to go with his opening 70. Levi opened his second round with three birdies and a bogey in his first nine holes Friday after only carding one birdie on Thursday. Champions Tour rookie Craig Stadler -- who is making his senior debut this week -- also has posted 70-69.
Defending champion Fuzzy Zoeller is also still very much contention after remarkably steady rounds of 69-70 in which he has three birdies, two bogeys and 31 pars. In the same cluster of contenders is Jose Maria Canizares -- whose son won the NCAA men’s championship last week – who rang up a 2-under 68 Friday to go with his opening 71. The Spanish star mixed six birdies in a nine-hole span midway through his round with three bogeys.
Among the other contenders, Bobby Wadkins, who posted a 68 Thursday, had a 2-over 72 Friday, while Bruce Fleisher recorded his second straight 71 and Doug Tewell slumped to a 73 after his opening 69.
Among those missing the cut were Jack Nicklaus and former Senior Open champ Graham Marsh, who both posted two straight 75s, and Arnold Palmer, who had 79-80. Former Ryder Cup Captain Ben Crenshaw mustered no magic in rounds of 79-80, while Gary Player had 78-72.