Nicklaus layout is Perry's comfort zone
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - While Mark Calcavecchia takes a three-stroke lead into the weekend at the Regions Tradition, he will need to keep an eye on his nearest competitor - another golfer looking for his first Champions Tour win.
Kenny Perry, who matched Calcavecchia's seven-under 65 Friday in the second round at Shoal Creek, is at eight-under 136. Perry loves the venue. Like Muirfield Village GC, where Perry has won the Memorial three times (1991, 2003 and 2008), Shoal Creek is a Jack Nicklaus-designed course that Perry loves.
"The more I play it the more I love how Jack is a tactitioner," said Perry, who is playing in his third senior event this year after two in 2010 after he turned 50. "You have to put it in a spot off the tee and then his greens have plateaus - you've got to play to certain areas on his greens. I just love his golf courses."
Not only does Perry have the fondness for the layout going for him, but he also feels as if he is making some progress on his swing with the help of instructor Ron Gring. Not that Perry is working on anything exotic.
"I hit a lot of drivers on the range [Thursday] night and I would push one, pull one, push one and I was just out of rhythm," Perry said. "I was too fast on the transition from the top down. Today was better, still not perfect. It's funny, something I've always preached, what kept me [in contention], now I don't have it. I'm having to re-teach myself rhythm again, and it's very hard."
Perry's individualistic swing used to have a distinctive pause at the top that he is trying to rediscover. "Got faster, for whatever reason," he said. "I always had that little pause at the top of my golf swing, and I was able to gather the club up, set it and take on off."
-- Bill Fields