Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly are long-time friends and foes and Madison, Wis., residents, who five days after vying for one title are engaged in a chase for a bigger prize, the U.S. Senior Open.
Stricker followed his opening-round 62 with a six-under-par 64 on the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., on Friday to open a two-stroke lead over Kelly, who had a second-consecutive 64. Stricker’s 36-hole score, 126, is the lowest in the history of the Senior Open, while Kelly’s total, 128, is second lowest.
Last Sunday, Kelly defeated Stricker (and Retief Goosen) in a playoff to win the American Family Insurance Championship in Madison.
“We've played each other since we were juniors,” Kelly said. “And he was quiet, and I was not. He was really good, and I was kind of not. And I think he helped me along. And then when he was on his downside, I helped him along. It’s competition and support and friendship. It’s all of it in there.”
Both Stricker and Kelly played bogey-free rounds and each has made only a single bogey in 36 holes.
“It was a good two days,” Stricker said. “I take each day as it comes. Every day you feel a little bit different when you come to the golf course. But I like what I did again today. I've got some good feelings going on with just about every club in my bag, and hopefully those continue and I keep playing smart and being aggressive at times when I feel like I can be and holing a few putts.”
Defending champion David Toms, the first-round co-leader, shot a three-under-par 67 and trails by three.