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Ignition, Ingraham

Stu Ingraham of Broomall, Pa., making the most of his Senior PGA Championship debut, finished 36 holes at 1 under par on Friday, and owns a four-shot advantage over Gene Fieger for low PGA Professional honors.

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Stu Ingraham started strong and finished steady on Friday at Valhalla. (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)

By Bob Denney, The PGA of America

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Stu Ingraham of Broomall, Pa., making the most of his debut in the 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, turned in a near-flawless 2-under-par 70 Friday for a 36-hole total of 1-under-par 143. He leads a 42-member PGA Professional contingent at Valhalla Golf Club.

The 51-year-old PGA head professional at M Golf Range and Learning Center in Newtown Square, Pa., completed his second round before darkness, with 20 of the 42 PGA club professionals having to return Saturday at 7:30 a.m. to complete their work. The low 70 scorers and ties will advance to the final 36 holes Saturday and Sunday.

The six-time Philadelphia PGA Player of the Year, Ingraham collected birdies on the first, second and seventh holes, offsetting a bogey at No. 3. From there, he was steadier than most on a cool, brisk day at Valhalla, which was drying out from heavy rain the previous day. Overall, 29 players have yet to complete their second rounds.

Gene Fieger, a native of Philadelphia and the PGA director of golf at The Hideout in Naples, Fla., also was making his Championship debut. He trails Ingraham in the Low PGA Club Professional race by four strokes. He turned in a 74 for a 147 total.

“Well, the weather's certainly been a challenge for us in this tournament and the superintendent, they have done a great job,” said Fieger. “I just tried to drive it in the fairway.

“If you didn't drive it in the fairway, you had a tough time -- the rough is very, very difficult because of how wet it is,” he added. “I just tried to shoot par both days and tried to make the cut and see what I can do on the weekend.”

Kirk Hanefeld of Acton, Mass., who opened with a 70, was at even par Friday evening through 12 holes, while reigning Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year Sonny Skinner of Sylvester, Ga., was even par through 13 holes.