(Photo credit: Tork Mason / USA TODAY NETWORK)
Steve Stricker continued his run toward a second consecutive victory at the Sanford Invitational, building a one-shot lead after two rounds at Sioux Falls, S.D.
Stricker shot a 4-under-par 66 on Saturday and moved to 12-under 128 for the tournament. Stricker, who also won the event in 2018, in addition to his 2022 title, has never finished out of the top six in four previous visits.
Joe Durant and David Toms were tied for second place at 11 under, while fan favorite John Daly was tied for fourth at 10 under, along with Robert Karlsson of Sweden and K.J Choi of South Korea, who shared the first-round lead with Stricker.
Germany's Alex Cejka was alone in seventh place at 9 under.
After he was disappointed with his finish in the first round, with three pars and a bogey on his final four holes, Stricker was 3 under on the back nine Saturday. But his eagle 3 at the par-5 12th hole was offset by a bogey at No. 14. In the first round, his bogey came at No. 17.
"I'm trying not to complicate things and just come out and do what I do -- what I know that I do well: chip, putt, do the little things well, keep control of the ball," Stricker said. "Some days it's easier than others and some shots are easier than others. I didn't pull them all off today, but I scrambled well."
Stricker birdied two of his last three holes to move into sole possession of the lead, with his birdie putt at No. 18 moving him in front.
"They're making a lot of birdies, and so the more that I can make the better," Stricker said. "Yeah, I knew that (putt at 18) was to take the lead, and that's important. I want the lead going into tomorrow. Hopefully I can put together a good run tomorrow."
Durant (64 on Saturday) had two bogeys on the front nine but was 4 under on the back, including his own eagle 3 at No. 12. Toms (66) was 4 under over his final 10 holes to stay near the top of the leaderboard.
"Got to go out there and play really well," Toms said of his Sunday plans. "Depending on what the wind does tomorrow, if it lays down a little bit it'll be a shootout and a lot of fun for the fans."
Daly, whose only Champions Tour win came in 2017, topped his opening-round 66 with a 6-under 64 on Saturday that included a pair of eagles at the par-5 fourth hole and at No. 12. After moving to 6 under with a birdie at No. 13, Daly finished the day with five consecutive pars.
"It is great," Daly said when asked how he enjoyed his round with fans cheering his every move. "I made putts the last two days and I don't think I made hardly any eagles this year. To have two out there today really helped. I'm hitting the ball pretty good, playing smart. I've got to make putts and I made a few."
--Field Level Media