Four tied at 7-under going into weekend at Regions Tradition

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HOOVER – Four players are tied at the top going into the weekend at the Regions Tradition, creating an exciting leaderboard following two days of action at Greystone Golf and Country Club.

After a low-scoring opening round on Thursday from the field, Friday brought much more difficult scoring conditions for the players.

Darren Clarke was the day-one leader and is still one of the four tied for the lead, but only increased his two-day score by one stroke from Thursday to reach 7-under par for the tournament.

He shot a 1-under round on Friday with two birdies and one bogey to remain in contention at the top.

“Yeah, again, didn’t play particularly well today at all. It was a grind again. Just try to hang in there,” Clarke said after his round. “It’s a four-round tournament as opposed to three, so obviously important to just hang about there and try to give myself a chance come Sunday afternoon on the back nine.”

Defending champion Steve Stricker is now tied for the lead as well after one of the lower rounds of the day with a 3-under 69 to follow up his 68 during the first round.

Stricker was 2-under through his first two holes on Friday before bogeying the eighth hole. He then closed the round with birdies on the final two par 5s, picking up shots on 15 and 18 to finish strong to sit in a tie at the top.

“I didn’t do anything dumb today, just hung around,” Stricker said. “And we still have — we’re only halfway home, so we have a weekend to go. Someone’s going to probably bust out of this pack, I would imagine. The wind is supposed to switch directions for the weekend, so that will shake thing up probably a little bit, too. The course is in great shape and just kind of continue to do what I’ve been doing.”

Joining those two at 7-under are both Alex Cejka and Jerry Kelly.

Cejka also shot a 69 on Friday thanks to four birdies and four bogeys, while Kelly was 2-under with four birdies and two bogeys. Kelley was 3-under on the round through his first six holes but gave a shot back at the par-four ninth.

He then gave another one back on hole No. 17 before closing with a birdie at 18 to grab a share of the 36-hole lead.

Sitting one shot off the lead going into the weekend are Ernie Els, Stephen Ames and Dicky Pride.

Els made five birdies on his round along with two bogeys to shoot 3-under for the day, while Pride’s day was highlighted by an eagle on the par-five second hole. His scorecard featured plenty of excitement with five birdies in addition to the eagle, but he also had four bogeys on the round.

Ames would have had a chance to hold the lead outright at the end of the day, but a double bogey on the par-four eighth hole became costly. He bounced back with two birdies on the back nine, however, to get within one.

Another defending champion in Bernhard Langer shot a 69 as well to get to 5-under and two off the lead, while Joe Durant and Woody Austin are also two back.

Doug Barron is at 4-under par, while Retief Goosen shot one of the rounds of the day at 5-under to get to 3-under for the tournament.

Robert Karlsson and John Senden are also 3-under, while David Toms, David McKenzie, Scott Parel, Rod Pampling and Tim Herron are all at 2-under.

John Daly is also back in red figures after firing a 2-under round of 70 to get to 1-under for the tournament.