Darren Clarke, Steve Stricker, Alex Cjeka, and Jerry Kelly share the halfway lead at the Regions Tradition, the first of five senior majors on the PGA Tour Champions in 2021; Ernie Els and Bernhard Langer also in contention in Alabama

Last Updated: 07/05/21 11:43pm

Darren Clarke is chasing a maiden senior major title this week at the Regions Tradition

Darren Clarke is part of a four-way tie for the lead at the halfway stage at the Regions Tradition, the first senior major of the year.

Clarke followed an opening-round 66 with a one-under 71 on Friday at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Alabama to head into the weekend on seven under alongside Jerry Kelly, Monday qualifier Alex Cejka and defending champion Steve Stricker.

The Northern Irishman cancelled out his birdie at the third with a three-putt bogey at the seventh, with Clarke then picking up a shot at the par-four 12th and finishing his blemish-free back nine with six straight pars.

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“Didn’t play particularly well today at all,” Clarke admitted. “It was a grind again. It’s a four-round tournament as opposed to three, so obviously important to just hang about there and try to give myself a chance come Sunday afternoon on the back nine.”

Stricker opened with back-to-back birdies and took advantage of both the closing par-fives to card a second-round 69, matched by Cejka, while Kelly birdied the last to complete a two-under 70 and complete the quartet at the top.

“I didn’t do anything dumb today, just hung around,” Stricker said. “We’re only halfway home, so we have a weekend to go. Someone’s going to probably bust out of this pack, I would imagine.”

Ten players head into the weekend within two strokes of the lead, with four-time major champion Ernie Els in the group tied-fifth alongside Stephen Ames and Dicky Pride.

Bernhard Langer’s 69 put him on five under and in contention for his 12th PGA Tour Champions major title, while Retief Goosen and Robert Karlsson are among the group four off the pace.

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