Waldorf clings to 1-shot lead at Wakonda
DES MOINES – It has been 13 years since Duffy Waldorf won a tournament.
He could easily end that streak Sunday with one more proficient round.
Waldorf shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Champions Tour’s Principal Charity Classic.
Waldorf, the only player in the field to break 70 Sunday in both rounds, had an 8-under 136 total. Bart Bryant and Jay Don Blake were tied for second. Bryant had a 64, and Blake shot a 66.
Russ Cochran was 6 under after a 67. Tom Lehman led a group of five at 5-under 139.
The 50-year-old Waldorf is winless in 12 career starts on the 50-and-over tour. He took advantage of calm conditions at the Wakonda Club to post a bogey-free round after opening with a 69 for a share of the first-round lead.
Waldorf won four times on the PGA Tour, the last coming at the Disney Classic in 2000 when he shot a final-round 62.
“The way the course is set up and the guys in the field, they’ll be plenty of guys right there who are going to make a run,” Waldorf said. “I feel like I just have to play a good solid round and hopefully it’ll be good enough to win.”
Jay Haas, a three-time winner in the event, was 3 under after a 70. Points leader Bernhard Langer shot a 75 to drop 11 strokes back.
Waldorf is attempting to become the third straight rookie to win on the Champions Tour.
He put himself in position for his first career victory on the senior circuit with a consistent and largely mistake-free round.
While fellow Friday leaders Scott Hoch and Dan Forsman fell off the pace, Waldorf had four birdies in a five-hole stretch to seize a slim lead.
“It’s out there. If you put the ball in the fairway, hit good approaches you’ve got birdie chances for sure,” Waldorf said. “The key is to play well tee to green, and then hopefully roll in some birdie putts.”
The 50-year-old Bryant missed all of 2010-11 because of a left wrist injury that required a pair of fusions. He played sparingly on the PGA Tour last season, finishing in the top 50 just once.
Bryant shot a 1-over 73 on Friday. But Bryant also avoided a bogey – which no golfer could do in the first round – and he birdied all four par-5s for a competitive course record.
“I was in the fairway, which is key out here on all the holes because the rough is fairly penal,” Bryant said. “My wedge had just been pitiful all year, and I’ve worked really hard on it and I’m starting to hit some really good wedge shots. My par-5 play had not been very good at all for that reason, and now I’m starting to make some birdies on the par 5s.”
Blake also shot a bogey-free round, racking up birdies on three straight holes on the front nine.
“There’s a lot of guys up there. It’ll be a battle. It’s fun,” Blake said.
A whopping 37 players were within three strokes of the lead after the opening round. That number was whittled down to nine Saturday, but it should still be a fluid leaderboard in the final round.
“A 64 out here is a very good round. But it wouldn’t shock me if someone shot a 63,” Bryant said. “I don’t have illusions of being able to go and shoot anywhere around par and have a chance. It’s going to take a really good round.”
Fred Funk withdrew before Saturday’s second round because of vertigo. Funk shot a 76 on Friday.