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 in its history.
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.