Friday notebook

Roger Chapman and John Cook share the lead at the halfway mark on a much better day for scoring. Plus, Michael Allen makes a quantum leap, the field is cut quite a bit for the weekend rounds, five players have missed only one fairway so far, and more.


Second-round co-leader Roger Chapman is bidding to become the first Englishman to win on the Champions Tour since Mark James at the 2007 Allianz Championship. (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)

By Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Media Staff

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- England’s Roger Chapman and John Cook share the lead at the halfway mark of the 73rd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. With much better conditions for scoring, first-round leader Chapman backed up his opening 68 with a 4-under 67 on Friday despite making bogey at the par-5 ninth, his final hole of the day.

Cook, meanwhile, used a run of three straight birdies on his second nine ( Nos. 5-7) to card a 5-under 66 and tie Chapman for the lead. Hale Irwin, 66, matched his age at Harbor Shores and moved up into solo third place just two strokes off the lead.

--Chapman is bidding to become the first Englishman to win on the Champions Tour since Mark James claimed the 2007 Allianz Championship.

--Chapman holds a share of a 36-hole lead on the Champions Tour for the first time in his career. His previous-best was tie for 19th at last year’s Senior PGA Championship       

--Cook holds a share of the 36-hole lead in a senior major for the first time. He held the 36-hole lead at the 72-hole Charles Schwab Cup Championship in 2009 and went on to win. He has also held the 36-hole lead in three other 54-hole Champions Tour events and won once. 

--Cook is looking to claim his first senior major. He has finished in second place in three different major championships on the Champions Tour, losing each in a playoff – the 2008 Senior British Open (to Bruce Vaughan), 2009 Regions Tradition (to Mike Reid), 2011 Constellation Senior Players Championship (to Fred Couples). His best finish in four previous appearances in the Senior PGA Championship was a tie for 13th last year at Valhalla Golf Club.

--Irwin, the four-time Senior PGA Championship winner, is in the mix again after having been tied for second through 36 holes last year.

--Irwin matched his age for the fourth time in his career, and for the second consecutive year matched his age in a major (he also shot a 66 in Round 3 of the 2011 U.S. Senior Open. He became the first player since Jack Fleck at the 2002 Senior PGA Championship to shoot his age or better in this event. In that championship, a then-80-year-old Fleck posted a 77 at PGA National Golf Club.

--Irwin’s 66 was his 22nd score in the 60s at this event, increasing his all-time lead over Sam Snead (17). It was also his 31st score under par at this championship and he now trails Snead by only two in this category.

--Michael Allen shot a 6-under 64 Friday, posting the lowest round in the Senior PGA Championship since Allen Doyle fired an 8-under-par 64 in the final round of the 1999 event at PGA National. Allen’s round was also the best second-round score in this championship since Tom Weiskopf shot 8-under 64 in 1993 at PGA National.

--Both Allen and Juan Quiros (81-68) improved their Thursday scores by 13 strokes, the biggest positive changes from one round to the next at the Senior PGA Championship since the 2010 event at Colorado Golf Club. Two years ago, both Brad Bryant and Bill Loeffler bettered their Friday round by 13 strokes on Saturday. Bryant shot 80-67 while Bill Loeffler shot 83-69.

--Allen’s Friday round jumped him up 94 spots in the standings, going from 102nd into a tie for eighth.

--Allen won the 2009 Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club near Cleveland, becoming the 14th player in Champions Tour history to win in his debut on the circuit. He currently leads the 2012 Charles Schwab Cup race with 923 points, 350 points ahead of Bernhard Langer.

--For the first time since 2003, there are co-leaders after 36 holes of the Senior PGA Championship. Allen Doyle and Gil Morgan shared the halfway lead at Aronomink Golf Club that year.

--No 36-hole leader has won a Senior PGA Championship since Hale Irwin did so at Valhalla Golf Club in 2004. Last year after 36 holes at Valhalla, Japan’s Kiyoshi Murota was leading Hale Irwin by four strokes with an 11-under-par 133 total.

--A total of 71 players, including four PGA Club Professionals, made the cut at 5-over-par 147, the fewest number of professionals to survive the 36-hole cut since 2005 when 71 players advanced at Laurel Valley Golf Club. Last year at Valhalla, 79 players advanced to the weekend after the cut fell at 4-over 148.

--Through 36 holes, Boochu Ruangkit, Jeff Hart, Larry Mize, Roger Chapman and Russ Cochran have only missed one fairway. Roger Chapman has hit the most greens in regulation with 32 of 36. Dick Mast has averaged just 1.611 putts per green in regulation. John Cook and Roger Chapman both have made 10 birdies.