Chalmers Leads US Bank by Two Shots
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Greg Chalmers started playing golf at age 13 and there was only one pro he and most every other Australian kid aspired to be -- Greg Norman.
Chalmers, who has led the U.S. Bank Championship from the start, is in position to win here 20 years after Norman won the Greater Milwaukee Open by three strokes in 1989.
Chalmers shot a 67 on Friday to move to 9-under 131 and take a two-stroke lead. It's the first time in nine years he's led a PGA event heading into the weekend, but he's still in search of his first tour victory after two on the Nationwide tour.
"I won the Australian Open in 1998 and he won his first Australian Open (in 1980)," said the 35-year-old Chalmers, who has played with Norman a handful of times. "It's a really weird game to me sometimes. Tiger Woods' next counterpart could be a 15-year-old kid right now."
Chalmers was two shots ahead of Chris Riley (66), Jeff Klauk (69) and Kris Blanks (63). Kevin Na (65), Marc Turnesa (65) and Steve Flesch (65) were another stroke back at 6 under.
After blustery conditions made the field post the worst scores in a round since 2004 on Thursday, temperatures plunged into the 60s and rain showers made it seem more like the British Open at Turnberry.
The unseasonably chilly weather is expected to continue through the weekend, but Chalmers remains on the same track Norman was when he won this tournament. The left-hander nicknamed "Snake" as a play on words with his last name has needed just one putt on 21 of the 36 holes so far.
"I made most putts inside 10 feet," Chalmers said. "At this level, if you're going to lead the tournament or be competitive, you've got to make them."
Chalmers, who last led a tournament at the halfway point nine years ago at the Nissan Open and had his best result that year with a tie for second at the Kemper Open, made a mistake early after starting his day at No. 10.
He bogeyed the par-3 14th after his wayward tee shot left him needing a 12-foot putt to make par. But, just like in Thursday's opening round, Chalmers came on strong with birdies at Nos. 17 and 18. He also had consecutive birdies at Nos. 4 and 5 for the second straight day.
"It was a working man's 3 under," he said.
The working-man mentality should serve him well this weekend after changing conditions continued on Friday, keeping scores down and the cut line at 1-over 141.
Chalmers and the rest of the field dealt with stiff wind and warm temperatures on Thursday, but said he'd only brought one sweater with him for the tournament.
"You don't expect it in the summertime," said Riley, who also only has one sweater with him for the tournament.
Meanwhile, Klauk didn't have nearly the same success as Friday, when he was co-leader. He was 1 over through his first nine holes and needed to rally to stay two shots back. Still, Klauk likes his position heading into the weekend.
"You can't overpower this golf course," he said. "Anybody can play. It's just a good, old-style golf course."
One that might not return next year. U.S. Bank is dropping its title sponsorship after six years and tournament organizers say a new one must be found to continue the shortest event on tour at the 6,759-yard, par-70 Brown Deer Park Golf Course.
Na is 20th in FedEx Cup standings this year and is the highest ranked player in Milwaukee.
"That only means one thing -- I need to win," Na said. "That's what I need on my resume is a W out here. A win's a win even though it's an opposite field event."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)