Champions Tour

Ames co-leads Senior PGA championship, Weir 2 back

Stephen Ames
BENTON HARBOR, MICHIGAN - MAY 26: Stephen Ames of Canada hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid at Harbor Shores Resort on May 26, 2022 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) – Tournament housemates Scott McCarron and Stephen Ames each shot 5-under 66 in stormy and cold conditions Friday at Harbor Shores to share the second-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship.

The round started with rain and wind and it got colder as the day progressed.

“It was crazy,” McCarron said. “Weather (when) we teed off ? was not too bad. (It was) 60 (degrees) and then we got to the third hole, and I think it dropped 10 or 15 degrees.”

The 56-year-old McCarron had eight birdies, five in a back-nine 30 on the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout that sits near Lake Michigan. McCarron has 11 PGA Tour Champions victories, including the 2017 Senior Players.

The 58-year-old Ames, who had a double bogey for the second straight day, made six birdies over the final 11 holes.

“It’s not my cup of tea,” Ames said. “I’m not a fan of the cold weather even though I lived in Canada. But I never went out and played golf in this.”

McCarron had major reconstructive surgery of his left ankle in August and has just one top-25 finish in nine events this season, a tie for 16th in the major Regions Tradition on May 15.

“It’s been a slow process,” McCarron said. “I knew it would be. It’s been a struggle, but the last couple of weeks it’s gotten better.”

Ames has four top-10 finishes.

“Putting has been a bit of an issue the last six weeks I’ve played,” Ames said after making a 25-foot birdie putt for his final birdie at the 16th. “I’ve had opportunities, but I couldn’t make putts to close things out.”

McCarron and Ames were at 8-under 134, two strokes ahead of 64-year-old Bernhard Langer (68), Brian Gay (68), Mike Weir (71) and Steven Alker (72).

Langer made four birdies, three of them on par-5 holes at 9, 10 and 15, to offset a bogey at the 436-yard seventh hole where the windswept small green overlooks Lake Michigan.

“It was cold today, much colder, and the ball just went nowhere at times,” Langer said. “It’s nice to go below 70 on a day like this because it’s not easy. The course played a lot longer.”