Leader half­way to first vic­tory

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Golf / tennis -

HIGH­LAND PARK, Ill. — Scott Parel walked off the course think­ing some­body would over­take him. In­stead, he’s half­way to his first PGA Tour Cham­pi­ons vic­tory — and it hap­pens to be a ma­jor.

Parel grabbed a on­e­stroke lead in the Con­stel­la­tion Se­nior Play­ers Cham­pi­onship, shoot­ing a 6-un­der 66 Fri­day in the sec­ond round to reach 11 un­der.

Parel, 53, made seven birdies af­ter start­ing the day two shots off the lead.

“I’ve been play­ing good golf, right there in con­tention a lot of times,” he said. “And that helps. The more you’re up there, the more com­fort­able you are. If you do it once ev­ery few weeks, then maybe you get a lit­tle bit un­com­fort­able. But I feel good right now.”

Parel re­mained in the lead when Jeff Mag­gert three-putted from about 15 feet to bo­gey the par-4 18th. That left Mag­gert (68) tied with Brandt Jobe (67) at 10 un­der in the fourth of five ma­jors on the tour’s sched­ule.

Three-time cham­pion Bern­hard Langer (67), de­fend­ing cham­pion Scott McCar­ron (68), Kenny Perry (70) and Vi­jay Singh (67) were in a pack two strokes off the lead. Illi­nois coach Mike Small shot 71 and was three shots back.

This is just the sec­ond time Parel has led af­ter a round in a PGA Tour Cham­pi­ons event. He shared the first-round lead at the 2017 Chubb Clas­sic be­fore fin­ish­ing tied for 10th.

Parel did not play in col­lege at Ge­or­gia, and worked in com­put­ers for 10 years be­fore turn­ing pro. He missed the cut in four of his five ca­reer PGA Tour starts. On the over-50 tour, he has 13 top-10 fin­ishes in 52 starts. That in­cludes ties for sec­ond at the Mit­subishi Elec­tric Clas­sic near At­lanta in April and Prin­ci­pal Char­ity Clas­sic in June in Des Moines, Iowa.

Parel pulled ahead even though he was a bit off tar­get with his driver. He fin­ished with a birdie on 18.

“I think if the con­di­tions stay the same, you’re go­ing to have to shoot the same kind of scores that I’ve shot the last two days to have a chance to win,” he said. “The course is in per­fect shape. The greens are per­fect, make­able speed and smooth. So guys are go­ing to make a lot of birdies out here.”

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