Pittsburgh, PA – Fred Couples fired a 7-under 63 on Friday to take a 1-stroke lead after two rounds of the Senior Players Championship, the third major of the year on the Champions Tour.
The defending champion finished 36 holes at 11-under-par 129. Couples beat the 36-hole scoring mark by two strokes. J.C. Snead set the old 36-hole mark of 131 in 1992.
Joe Daley, who is coming off a tie for fourth at the Senior PGA Championship, carded a 6-under 64 to move into second place at minus-10 at Fox Chapel Golf Club.
Tradition winner Tom Lehman, who finished fourth last year, posted a 3-under 67 to finish two rounds in third at 7-under-par 133.
Mark Calcavecchia and Jay Don Blake had matching 5-under 65s to climb into a share of fourth. They were joined at 6-under-par 134 by Bill Glasson (67) and Michael Allen (68).
Tom Watson, a two-time runner-up, carded a 3-under 67 to move into a tie for 12th at 3-under-par 137.
First-round leader Bruce Vaughan struggled to a 4-over 74 to tumble into a share of 16th at minus-2.
Greg Norman stumbled to a 4-over 74 and fell to 1-over 141.
Couples opened his round with birdies on the first and second. He followed with birdies on the fourth and sixth to climb to 8-under par.
Daley, who was three groups ahead of Couples, also birdied one and two, but dropped a shot on the third. Daley poured in three consecutive birdie chances from the fifth to get to minus-8.
After a bogey on the eighth, Daley birdied 10 and 11 to move to 9-under, where he was one clear of Couples.
After Couples tripped to a bogey at 12, Daley briefly moved three clear with a birdie on the 15th, but Couples answered with a birdie on 13. Daley's lead was down to one as he stumbled to a bogey at the par-4 16th.
Daley birdied the last to get in the house at 10-under.
"I'm sticking with the ideology of preparing for the golf tournament, then go out and study it and then play," explained Daley, who has no status on the Champions Tour. "I'm learning that efficiency is better than quantity when it comes to practice."
Couples closed his round in fine fashion. After a birdie on the 16th, Couples also birdied 17 from 30 feet out and 2-putted for birdie on 18 to grab the 1- stroke lead.
"It was a great day full of a lot of good shots, but a couple long putts were made. Anytime you're going to shoot a low round on a course that I think is like this, you're going to have to do that," Couples stated. "But I got off to a great start, was 4-under after six and kept playing pretty well.
"I like the course. So far, I like the pace of the greens. I'm sure they're going to get a little crustier and faster, which is a good thing. I've been driving it very, very well and putting well. That's no hidden secret there."
Reigning U.S. Senior Open champion Olin Browne fired an 8-under 62 to set the new tournament scoring record. He soared from a share of 52nd into a tie for eighth at 5-under 135. He was joined there by former Masters champion Larry Mize (65) and Jeff Freeman (65).
Notes: Couples has won five of the eight times he has had the 36-hole lead on the Champions Tour, but two of the three lost leads were in majors...Arnold Palmer is the only back-to-back winner of this event (1984-85)...Daley is making just his 11th career tour start.