St. Louis, MO – Russ Cochran and Kenny Perry carded equal 5- under 66s on Friday to tie for the lead at the Senior PGA Championship.
The duo, who have played against each other since they were kids in Kentucky, finished 36 holes of the Champions Tour's first major of the season at 7- under-par 135.
"Russ is kind of the guy I always looked up to," Perry said about Cochran. "I was a freshman at Lone Oak High School when he was a junior there at St. Mary's there in Paducah, Kentucky. Russell was the man. He was the guy that ... he was the big guy on campus as you would say. And he was one of the big reasons why I got as good as I did. I got better, because I tried to aspire to be a lot like Russ."
Kiyoshi Murota (70) sits in third place at 5-under at Bellerive Country Club, while Loren Roberts (68) and first-round co-leaders Duffy Waldorf (72) and Jay Haas (72) are tied for fourth at minus-4.
Peter Senior (71) is alone in seventh place at 3-under.
Haas was the first to pull ahead of the pack at 6-under with his birdie at the 14th -- his fifth -- but tripped to a five at the par-3 16th to fall two strokes behind Murota, who birdied the 17th as he also started on the back nine.
Haas fell further behind with a bogey at the 17th.
Perry, meanwhile, birdied the 11th, 14th and 16th to move ahead of Haas and into second at minus-5.
Cochran, who started his round by following birdies at the 10th and 12th with a bogey at the 15th, then made his move with three straight birdies from the 17th to meet Murota atop the leaderboard at 6-under.
After Murota birdied the fourth and Cochran birdied the third to keep them tied at minus-7, Cochran took the outright lead with another birdie at the fourth.
Murota fell further behind with a five at the par-3 sixth to drop three strokes off the pace, moving Perry into second at 6-under following his birdie at the fourth.
Cochran's advantage fell to just one stroke after he bogeyed the sixth, and Perry took advantage of the mistake with a birdie at the eighth to meet Cochran atop the leaderboard at minus-7.
Both players closed with a par at the last to remain tied heading into the weekend.
"We hit it about the same distance. Our irons are about the same. It's just a matter of who gets the putter hot," Cochran said about facing off against Perry.
NOTES: Perry is seeking his third win on the Champions Tour, while Cochran is trying to earn his fourth victory on tour ... Perry and Cochran are the only two players in the field with consecutive rounds in the 60s ... The cut line fell at 4-over-par 146, with 80 players advancing to the weekend ... It is the largest number to make the cut since 2010 when 81 players made it ... Defending champion Roger Chapman made the cut on the number despite a 3-over 74 in his second round.