Cochran, Perry tied for lead in Senior PGA; Flesch, Teater two shots back at Colonial

Associated PressMay 24, 2013 

ST. LOUIS — Longtime Kentucky pals Russ Cochran and Kenny Perry have shared a massive gallery the first two rounds of the Senior PGA Championship. Now, they also share the lead.

"It's been a great couple of days," Cochran said after the pair each shot 5-under-66 on Friday. "He's one of my best friends. We had a good time out there."

Cochran (St. Mary's, UK) and Perry (Lone Oak, Western Kentucky) had matching 69s in the opening round and they tied for the best round Friday. They bonded in high school in Paducah, a three-hour drive from St. Louis, and when they play together for the third straight day Saturday the following is likely to grow.

"It's been pretty neat for me to play alongside him for the last two days and for both of us to play tremendous," Perry said. "We play a lot together."

The relationship is tight enough that Perry can joke that at dinners Cochran is "like a woman" with non-stop patter.

"He's got more stories. He's hilarious. He's so fun to be around, and I'm always the guy listening," Perry said. "He controls everything when we're out."

On the course, Cochran admires Perry's control, rhythm and power.

"The only thing I have to watch out for is Kenny hits it a long way," Cochran said. "When someone hammers it you want to jump up and swing a little harder than you should.

"So, I try not to do that."

The 54-year-old Cochran began play on the back nine and had five birdies in a span of six holes, peaking at 8 under before a bogey on No. 6. He was proudest of a birdie on perhaps the most challenging hole on the course, the 477-yard par 4 at No. 10 with a creek guarding the green, hitting a 5-iron approach to about 4 feet.

"I kind of felt like I hit the lottery a little bit," Cochran said. "Anytime you birdie that hole, you really feel like you've done something good."

The 52-year-old Perry had five birdies in a bogey-free round, helped by a handful of 300-plus drives. Though somewhat new to the Champions Tour, he has been impressed by the consistency.

"They don't back up out here," Perry said. "You've got to keep your foot on the gas pedal, keep making birdies."

■ Perry is 18 under his last four rounds in the Senior PGA Championship, including a record 62 last year at Harbor Shores in Benton, Mich.

Kuchar ahead at Colonial

FORT WORTH, Texas — Matt Kuchar was hoping he would be able to finish his second round Friday night at Colonial. He ended up with the lead — and a very early wakeup call.

Kuchar had only three holes to complete in what so far was a bogey-free round, with his ball already on the 16th green. He was at 10 under and described the conditions as "just perfect right now."

But Kuchar was among 54 players still on the course when play was suspended at Hogan's Alley because of an impending storm system. The 18 groups that didn't finish are scheduled to resume the second round at 7:15 a.m. Saturday, just more than 12½ hours after coming off the course.

"That's a bit of a bummer," said Kuchar, who opened with a 5-under 65. "It's no fun to wake up at 4:30 to get out here and play three holes."

First-round leader Ryan Palmer, 19-year-old Jordan Spieth and Kentuckians Steve Flesch and Josh Teater are at 8 under. Flesch's 64 Friday matched the best completed round of the day and, more importantly, will end his string of 16 missed cuts on the PGA Tour since October 2011.

The 2004 Colonial champion missed the cut in all 12 of his PGA Tour starts last year before right shoulder surgery in August, and is playing only his third tour event this year. The 45-year-old Flesch is playing on a non-exempt major medical extension and has to make $647,510 between this weekend and his next three events to prolong that medical extension.

"I'm very comfortable here and just glad to actually play on the weekend now," said Flesch, who played in high school at St. Mary's and in college at Kentucky. "I was actually cruising, then I got that rain delay and I kind of lost all of my rhythm. ... It's like starting your whole round over. My swing didn't feel very well on those last three (holes)."

Flesch was on the course trying to complete his morning round when play was stopped for the first time. He had just made a 33-foot birdie putt at the difficult par-4 fifth hole, his 14th hole of the day. The lefty finished with four pars in a row.

McIlroy, Donald miss cut

VIRGINIA WATER, England — Rory McIlory was one of five 2012 European Ryder Cup players to miss the cut Friday in the BMW PGA Championship, while Medinah teammate Francesco Molinari took the lead at cold and wet Wentworth.

The second-ranked McIlory had a 3-over 75 to finish at 5 over. Two-time defending champion Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Paul Lawrie — all members of Europe's winning team last year at Medinah — also dropped out early. Molinari put himself in position for his fourth European Tour title, shooting a 68 to take a one-stroke lead at 6 under.

Southern Cal wins women's title

ATHENS, Ga. — Annie Park shot a 1-under 71 Friday and finished at 10 under to top the individual standings and help Southern California take its third NCAA women's tournament title.

Southern California finished at 19-under 1,133 to beat second-place Duke by 21 strokes.

Alabama freshman Emma Talley, a Caldwell County graduate, tied for 23rd at 6-over par.

Young leads LPGA event

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Heather Bowie Young made birdies on half of the 12 holes the LPGA Tour set up Friday for a 6-under 39 at the Ocean Club, giving her a one-shot lead in the Bahamas LPGA Classic.

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