(Photo credit: Tork Mason / USA TODAY NETWORK)
Steve Stricker continued his run to a second straight win at the Sanford Invitational, building a one-shot lead after two rounds in Sioux Falls, SD
Stricker shot a 4-under-par 66 on Saturday to move to 12-under 128 for the tournament. Stricker, who also won the event in 2018 in addition to his 2022 title, has never finished in the top six in four previous visits.
Joe Durant and David Toms were tied for second at 11 under, while fan favorite John Daly was tied for fourth at 10 under, along with Robert Karlsson of Sweden and KJ Choi of South Korea, who shared the first-round lead with Stricker.
Germany’s Alex Cejka was alone in seventh at 9 under.
After his disappointing first-round finish, with three pars and a bogey on his final four holes, Stricker was 3 under on the back nine on Saturday. But his eagle 3 on the par-5 12th hole was offset by a bogey on No. 14. In the first round, his bogey came on No. 17.
“I try not to complicate things and just come out and do what I do — what I know I do well: chip, putt, do the little things well, control the ball,” Stricker said. “Some days it’s easier than others and some shots are easier than others. I didn’t hit all of them today, but I climbed well.”
Stricker birdied two of his final three holes to take sole possession of the lead, with his birdie putt on No. 18 moving him in front.
“They make a lot of birdies, and so the more I can make the better,” Stricker said. “Yeah, I knew that (putt at 18) was to take the lead, and that’s important. I want the lead going into tomorrow. Hopefully I can put together a good run tomorrow.”
Durant (64 on Saturday) had two bogeys on the front nine but was 4 under on the back, including his own eagle 3 on No. 12. Toms (66) was 4 under over his final 10 holes to stay near the top of the leaderboard.
“Got to go out and play really well,” Toms said of his Sunday plans. “Depending on what the wind does tomorrow, if it dies down a bit, it’s going to be a shootout and a lot of fun for the fans.”
Daly, whose only Champions Tour win came in 2017, topped his opening-round 66 with a 64-under 64 on Saturday that included a pair of eagles on the par-5 fourth hole and on No. 12. After moving to 6-under with a birdie on No. 13 , Daly finished the day with five straight pars.
“It’s amazing,” Daly said when asked how he enjoyed his round with fans cheering every step. “I made putts the last two days and I don’t think I hardly made any eagles this year. Having two out there today really helped. I’m hitting the ball pretty well, playing smart. I’ve got to make putts and I made some.”
–Field Level Media