Birmingham, AL (SportsNetwork.com) - Mark Calcavecchia carded his second straight 3-under 69 on Friday and he leads the season's first major, the Regions Tradition, by one stroke after two rounds.
Calcavecchia, who has finished inside the top 20 in each of the last four years at this event, ended 36 holes at 6-under-par 138. He had been one of four first-round co-leaders.
Jay Haas posted a 2-under 70 and he dipped into second place at minus-5. Olin Browne shot 71, while Kenny Perry fired a 4-under 68. That duo shares third at 4-under 140, while 2009 runner-up John Cook (70) and Steve Elkington (71) are tied for fifth at minus-3.
Chien Soon Lu, who shared the first-round lead with Calcavecchia, Haas and Browne, faltered to a 5-over 77. Lu, a two-time runner-up at this championship, tumbled into a tie for 30th at 2-over 146 at Shoal Creek Club.
Calcavecchia got on the board with a birdie on the par-5 third. After a par on the fourth, he converted back-to-back birdie efforts at five and six. He parred the final three holes of the front nine to make the turn at minus-6.
The former British Open champion parred the first five holes of the back nine to make it eight pars in a row. Calcavecchia stumbled to a bogey on the 15th, but he atoned for that mistake with an 8-foot birdie putt at the 18th.
"It was a good day. Got off to a pretty good start, especially with the putter. Made a lot of putts early and was 3-under through six, and then that was about it for making putts," Calcavecchia said. "Then hit a bad iron shot on 15, pushed it right of the green, not a very good chip and made bogey. Nice to end the day with a birdie on 18. Had a good yardage for a hard 7-iron and hit a good shot about eight feet and made that. All in all, you know, good day. Very similar to yesterday condition wise."
Haas flew out of the gate with four consecutive birdies from the first. That spurt put him in the lead at 7-under. However, he tripped to a bogey on No. 5, then ran off nine straight pars from the sixth.
The 16-time winner on the Champions Tour stumbled to a bogey on the 15th, but bounced right back with a birdie on No. 16. Haas faltered to a bogey on No. 18 to fall one shot back.
"It was obviously a great start, couldn't have imagined anything better than that. I actually played much better from tee to green than yesterday, but other than the first few holes I didn't have a lot of close birdie putts," Haas stated. "Yesterday, I putted a good bit better, made some putts with some length on them, and today I just didn't do that in the middle of my round. Like I said, being 4-under after four was kind of a dream start and then kind of slowly let it get away from me. But I like my position, feel pretty good about things going into the weekend."
NOTES: This is the third time Calcavecchia has led a major on the Champions Tour ... He has won just once in six tries when owning at least a piece of the 36-hole lead on the Champions Tour ... The last 36-hole leader to win this event was Tom Watson in 2003 ... Five of the top six players on the leaderboard have won a major on either the PGA or Champions Tour.