BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Colin Montgomerie knows two of the players to watch in a senior major are Bernhard Langer and Tom Watson, so playing alongside them in the first two rounds of the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores worked out well.
Watson shot a 3-under 68 on Friday for a share of the lead with fellow Hall of Famers Langer and Montgomerie and three other players.
“Tom had a great finish last week in the Regions Tradition major and Langer is always there, so I felt that if I was equal or around them after two days, I would be quite happy,” Montgomerie said. “I was and I am and it gives me an opportunity to go forward at the weekend.”
The 64-year-old Watson had five birdies and a double bogey — on the par-4 12th — to reach 4-under 138 after two rounds at Harbor Shores.
“When I don’t do well I get angry with myself still,” he said. “Like (Lee) Trevino said, ‘When I stop getting angry with myself, then I know it’s time to quit.’ And I haven’t reached that point yet. I get frustrated at times, but I still have some fire.”
Langer also had a 68, and Montgomerie shot 69 to join Watson, Bart Bryant, Steen Tinning and Kiyoshi Murota atop the leaderboard. Bryant shot 67, Tinning 66, and Murota 65.
The six-way tie for the lead is the most on the Champions Tour after 36 holes since an eight-way tie in the 2006 Senior Players Championship in Dearborn, Michigan.
Montgomerie talked more about Watson than himself afterward.
“He’s hitting the ball great,” Montgomerie said. “Sixty-four years old. It’s amazing how he still is very competitive and extremely competitive. Seeing him at very close quarters, believe me he is extremely competitive and it’s great to see.”
Murota, from Japan, had the best round of the day, chipping in for eagles on the par-5 fifth and ninth.
Bryant bogeyed the 18th hole to drop into the tie for the lead.
Tinning, from Denmark, birdied No. 17 in his bogey-free round.
Steve Pate (67) was a stroke back along with Stephen Ames (68), Russ Cochran (69), Mark Brooks (71) and Dan Forsman (73). The group at 2 under included first-round leader Joe Durant (75), Jay Haas (71), Scott Simpson (69) and Duffy Waldorf (70).
Watson, Langer and Montgomerie created buzz early in the day with their names atop the leaderboard.
Watson had a 3-under 33 on the front nine, but double-bogeyed the 12th with a stubbed chip and three putts. Trying to win for the first time since the 2011 Senior PGA, he’s coming off a sixth-place tie last week in the Regions Tradition in Alabama.
“I hit the ball pretty well last week and finished with a good round on Sunday, and it’s kind of carrying on right now,” he said. “So we’ll see what happens the next two days.”
Langer, a two-time winner this season and the leading money winner on the Champions Tour five of the last six years, birdied the first two holes.
“On this golf course you never know what’s going to happen,” Langer said. “There are some low scores out there, but there are also some high numbers. So it was good to get in the red numbers right away and I felt good about my game starting off.”
Montgomerie, playing in his first Senior PGA and seeking his first Champions Tour victory, took advantage of a friendly forward tee position and made an eagle on the par-5 15th. He hit his 8-iron approach from 173 yards to 10 feet.
“Amazing, fantastic,” Montgomerie said. “I haven’t putted well, to be honest, over the first two days. I missed a number of makeable putts that haven’t started on line, which has been disappointing.”
Roger Chapman, the runaway winner in 2012 at Harbor Shores, was 1 over after rounds of 71 and 72.
Kenny Perry, the Regions Tradition winner last week, followed his opening 70 with a 75.
Kohki Idoki, the winner last year at Bellerive in St. Louis, birdied the last two holes for a 70 to make the 36-hole cut on the number.
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