Steve Alker in action today – photo PGA of America Montana Pritchard

New Zealander Steve Alker continues his amazing run on the PGA Tour Champions and at the halfway stage of the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor in Michigan and at 6 under he finds himself just two shots off the lead held by Scott McCarron and Stephen Ames.

Alker, who stands atop the money PGA Tour Champions money list in 2022 with earnings of nearly US$1.2 million including two victories and two runner-up finishes, added a second round of 72 in trying conditions today to be nicely poised as the event heads into the weekend although he did enjoy a slightly better side of the draw.

“I didn’t do too much damage,” said Alker referring to his over par round. “I bogeyed my last hole. Just missed a couple of fairways today and got myself out of position a little bit on the greens, so it just seemed like I was putting over slopes and across mounds and all sorts of things today, so it was just — it was kind of a grinding day, yeah.

“It just seemed like I was playing a lot of defensive golf today, especially on the greens. Obviously I didn’t hit it as close as yesterday. The wind was a little different, and the rain, just holes played totally different. Couldn’t reach the par-5s. Yeah, it was just a different golf course.”

Alker was asked earlier in the week if he anticipated the level of success he might have at this level and he responded; “Yeah, was always kind of quietly confident, I guess. You know, you kind of look at the players that have come up, and I’ve played with some guys off the Korn Ferry Tour and played a lot of golf with and they were doing well and winning out here. So not so much I went off what they had done.

“I’m just happy to be out here playing, have a chance to play this competitive golf at 50, and it’s another — it’s a second career for me. It’s a second opportunity, and you know, make most of it. I’ve probably got 18 years of decent golf left, so I’m just having a lot of fun.

“I’ve never been a really aggressive player. I just think as well as I’m hitting the ball now, I’ve got a lot of good confidence in my golf swing. So that makes it so much easier, too, when you are striking your irons nicely, you’re hitting your targets, you can just — you can always be more conservative. I mean, Nick Price always said that. I talked to him about this and he said, “I’m hitting the ball so good that I don’t have to fire at flags.”

“Now I’m putting so well, I don’t have to fire at flags. I know exactly where it’s going and what’s going on.”

Alker might well add a first major on the PGA Tour Champions to his already amazing list of performances since turning 50 after finishing 3rd in the first major of the season in Alabama two weeks ago.

In cool, windy and at times damp conditions, Alker has again headed the Australasian challenge and is tied with his playing partner over the opening two rounds, Bernhard Langer, Brian Gay and Mike Weir in a share of third place.

Australian Rod Pampling added a second round of 68 to be just one behind Alker in a share of 7th place,  Michael Campbell is at 1 under and tied for 31st, Peter Fowler and Mark Hensby are 39th, Stephen Leaney and David McKenzie 62nd while John Senden, Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby will miss the weekend.

Andre Stolz withdrew after an opening nine of 41 on Thursday.