SAMMAMISH, Wash. — Bernhard Langer overcame a shaky front nine with an eagle and birdie on the back nine Friday to take the clubhouse lead at 3 under in the second round of the U.S. Senior Open.
After a fog delay of more than two hours brought play to a halt just before 8 a.m. local time, Langer shot a 2-under 68 making a number of key putts on the back nine when his round easily could have slipped away.
"You never quite know. It's the type of golf course that any hole can get to you," Langer said. "You just got to be careful and hit good shots."
Langer trailed first-round leader Bruce Vaughan by a shot. Vaughan had a l;ate tee time Friday.
J.R. Roth shot the low round of the morning groups with a 66, curling in a 25-foot bender on the 18th to finish at 1 under for the tournament.
Langer, the British Senior Open winner Sunday at Carnoustie, was 1 over on the front nine after missing a short par putt on the ninth. He jump-started his round with an eagle on the long par 5 11th hole, sinking a 40-foot putt for the first eagle on the hole this week. Langer made long par saving putts on Nos. 12 and 15, then birdied the par-3 17th, knocking a 6 iron to six feet. Langer delicately two-putted on the 18th to finish his round.
While scores were generally closer to par than Thursday's first round when just eight players broke par, low scores were still tough to find. Larry Mize was 3 under on his round with two holes to play before a double bogey on the eighth, his 17th hole.
"I kind of messed up on the eighth hole," Mize said. "I don't like it, you have to shrug it off and keep plugging."
Mark Calcavecchia had his round rolling early with birdies on two of his first three holes to reach 3 under before a critical mistake. On the par-3 fifth hole, Calcavecchia let his tee shot leak to the right. The ball landed on the shaved slope fronting the green and trickled into a small pond. The double bogey erased Calcavecchia's quick start and things only got worse.
Despite a birdie on the seventh, Calcavecchia started the back nine with bogeys on two of three holes. He was 4 over on the inward nine and fell back to 2 over for the tournament.
Langer was the only player from the morning groups to finish both rounds under par. Scott Simpson was 1 over for the tournament after a 71.
Corey Pavin, the runner-up last week in the Senior British, was one of those hoping to make a run after a disappointing 72 in the first round. But Pavin was on the verge of snapping his clubs with wayward shots on the front nine and spiked his ball angrily into the rough after a short par putt on the 9th slid past. Pavin shot 75 and was 7 over.
The second round had barely started when fog brought play to a halt. The low cloud deck engulfed the Sammamish Plateau and the push of moist ocean air from Puget Sound made it nearly impossible to see the end of the driving range. Play was stopped at 7:48 a.m. local time, just after Langer, Calcavecchia and Pavin had teed off. The delay of 2 hour, 12 minutes pushed the afternoon starting times back.