Couples on top at Senior Players

Fred Couples carded a five-under 66 Friday to stroke lead after two rounds of the Senior Players Championship.

Couples, the U.S. Presidents Cup captain, completed 36 holes at the season's final major at eight-under-par 134.

The 51-year-old Couples has played just one of the first four majors on the Champions Tour, and his start two weeks ago at the 3M Championship was his first since missing the cut at the Memorial the first weekend in June.

"I was shooting to be pretty much on my game by Seattle, which is a big deal for me, but for me to be off, I wanted to get some rounds in," stated Couples, who was born in Seattle, about the Boeing Classic. "To be in contention is good for me to get the feel of having to hit good shots and make good putts. I'm in good spirits about how I'm feeling and playing."

Peter Senior remained one stroke off the lead as he carded a two-under 69 and is minus-seven through two rounds. Corey Pavin, the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, also shot 69 and is alone on third at six-under-par 136.

John Cook managed a three-under 68 to move into fourth place at minus-five.

First-round leader Jeff Sluman (73) and defending champion Mark O'Meara (70) stand alongside Morris Hatalsky (67) in fifth place at four-under-par 138.

Couples, who won four times on the Champions Tour last year, birdied the first from 20 feet out before making three straight pars. He birdied the fifth and made it two in a row with an eight-foot birdie putt at the par-three sixth on the West Course at Westchester Country Club.

The 1992 Masters champion got up and down for birdie on the par-five ninth to grab a share of the lead at minus-seven.

Around the turn, Couples stumbled to a bogey on the par-fourth 12th, but erased that mistake with a birdie on the 13th. He rolled in an eight-foot birdie try on the 15th to grab the lead. He parred the final tree holes to lead by one.

"I drove the ball very well. I didn't make many mistakes, but I did bogey the 12th," Couples said. "I don't want to say I left any out there, but I did miss a couple, but I made a few too."

Couples has had the 36-hole lead four other times on the Champions Tour, but won just two of them. He was the 36-hole leader at the 2010 Senior PGA, but lost in a playoff to Tom Lehman.

Senior, who trailed Sluman by one after the first round, opened with a birdie on the first. After five consecutive pars, he drained another birdie effort to move to minus-two.

The 52-year-old Senior tripped to a bogey on No. 12, but came back to birdie the 14th. Senior faltered to another bogey at 16, but atoned for that mistake with a birdie on the 17th, then parred the last to end one back.

"I probably didn't play as well as I did yesterday," Senior admitted. "I hit a couple of really bad tee shots, which led to those bogeys. I didn't hole a lot of putts, but I'm pretty happy to be in the situation I'm in."

NOTES: This is only Couples' fifth start on the Champions Tour in 2011...Only one 36-hole leader in the first four majors, Olin Browne, has held on to win...O'Meara is seeking to become the first player to win this title in back- to-back years since Arnold Palmer (1984-85).