Steve Stricker | 2019 Regions Tradition

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Friday was a day worth celebrating for Steve Stricker.

While his youngest daughter Izzi turned 13, the Madison golfer also reveled at the return of his putter during the second round of the Regions Tradition Championship. Stricker needed just 24 putts in a bogey-free, 8-under-par 64 that tied the course record on the Founders Course at Greystone Golf & Country Club and took a one-stroke lead over David Toms after 36 holes of the first major championship on the PGA Tour Champions schedule.

Stricker reached the halfway point of the 72-hole event at 12-under 132 thanks to his lowest score (by two shots) in 14 rounds on the senior circuit this year. He has not played on the PGA Tour Champions since late March when he tied for fifth in his title defense at the Rapiscan Systems Classic.

"I didn't put too much stress on myself out there," Stricker told Golf Channel. "I made some putts for a change, which has been lacking in my game this year so far. I had good speed, pretty good line, and some went in (Friday). It was go to see the ball go in."

Stricker acknowledged he has been experimenting with the "arm lock" grip made popular by PGA Tour golfer Matt Kuchar to try to regain confidence in his putting stroke, which has long been one of the best in professional golf.

"I've practice with that quite a bit," Stricker said. "It has led me to things that I remember doing years ago with my regular putter. It's been kind of a teaching aid, a practice aid for me. I continue to work on that a little bit.

"I'm not there yet, going to that (longer) putter. It feels good at times and it's a good practice aid for me."

It certainly paid off Friday.

After finishing the last five holes of his rain-delayed opening round, Stricker started his second round on No. 10 and birdied the par-3. That led to birdies on three of his first four holes and five of his first seven as he made the turn in 5-under 31.

Stricker parred No. 1 and then went birdie-par-birdie-par-birdie-par over his next six holes to get to 8-under for the round. He got up-and-down for a par 3 at No. 8 and had birdie opportunities on the last two holes, but couldn't get them to fall.

"Soft conditions so you can get a little more aggressive," said Stricker, who made the most of playing lift-clean-and-place during the second round. "The ball isn't rolling out of the fairways, it's plugging where you're hitting it, so I was able to get the ball in the fairway, get it cleaned up. You know, we played ball in hand in the second round and I gave myself a lot of opportunities and was able to make some."

His timing could not have been better.

With an 80 percent chance of rain Saturday and 90 percent on Sunday, Stricker is prepared for anything over the next two days. He has never won a major championship in his career and breaking the ice here would be yet another cause for celebration this weekend before the 2020 Ryder Cup captain heads to the PGA Championship.

"It all depends with the weather, I guess, and what kind of conditions we're going to have," Stricker said. "Yeah, when it's soft like this and we're playing it up, you're going to have to make some birdies, you're going to have to get aggressive, so you've got to just keep doing it, keep plugging away."

PGA Tour Champions: Madison's Steve Stricker & Jerry Kelly, Rhinelander's Dan Forsman at Regions Tradition Championship (Birmingham, Ala.)

Pos. Player Total Thru Today R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
Wisconsin leaderboard
1 Steve Stricker -12 F* -8 68 64 -- -- 132
T22 Jerry Kelly -3 F* -2 71 70 -- -- 141
T22 Dan Forsman -3 F* -2 71 70 -- -- 141
Full leaderboard
1 Steve Stricker -12 F* -8 68 64 -- -- 132
2 David Toms -10 F* -5 67 67 -- -- 134
3 Billy Andrade -9 F* -5 68 67 -- -- 135
T4 Bernhard Langer -8 F* -5 69 67 -- -- 136
T4 Glen Day -8 F* E 64 72 -- -- 136
T6 Paul Goydos -7 F* -5 70 67 -- -- 137
T6 Scott Parel -7 F* -6 71 66 -- -- 137
T8 Gary Hallberg -6 F* -7 73 65 -- -- 138
T8 Miguel Angel Jiménez -6 F* -2 68 70 -- -- 138
T10 Michael Bradley -5 F* -4 71 68 -- -- 139
T10 Paul Broadhurst -5 F* -6 73 66 -- -- 139
T12 Brandt Jobe -4 F* -3 71 69 -- -- 140
T12 Marco Dawson -4 F* -3 71 69 -- -- 140
T12 Kenny Perry -4 F* -4 72 68 -- -- 140
T12 Lee Janzen -4 F* -6 74 66 -- -- 140
T12 Kent Jones -4 F* -4 72 68 -- -- 140
T12 Willie Wood -4 F* -1 69 71 -- -- 140
T12 Kirk Triplett -4 F* -5 73 67 -- -- 140
T12 Tom Byrum -4 F* -3 71 69 -- -- 140
T12 Joey Sindelar -4 F* -6 74 66 -- -- 140
T12 Billy Mayfair -4 F* -4 72 68 -- -- 140
T22 David Frost -3 F* -4 73 68 -- -- 141
T22 Jerry Kelly -3 F* -2 71 70 -- -- 141
T22 Dan Forsman -3 F* -2 71 70 -- -- 141
T22 Tommy Armour III -3 F* -7 76 65 -- -- 141
T22 Retief Goosen -3 F* -5 74 67 -- -- 141
T22 Shaun Micheel -3 F* -4 73 68 -- -- 141
T22 Steve Jones -3 F* 1 68 73 -- -- 141
T29 Tom Lehman -2 F* -3 73 69 -- -- 142
T29 Jeff Maggert -2 F* 1 69 73 -- -- 142
T29 Stephen Ames -2 F* -1 71 71 -- -- 142
T29 Rocco Mediate -2 F* -4 74 68 -- -- 142
T29 Mike Goodes -2 F* E 70 72 -- -- 142
T34 José María Olazábal -1 F* E 71 72 -- -- 143
T34 Joe Durant -1 F* -3 74 69 -- -- 143
T34 Ian Woosnam -1 F* -1 72 71 -- -- 143
T34 Fred Funk -1 F* -1 72 71 -- -- 143
T34 Darren Clarke -1 F* -1 72 71 -- -- 143
T34 Corey Pavin -1 F* -2 73 70 -- -- 143
T40 Jerry Pate E F* 2 70 74 -- -- 144
T40 Esteban Toledo E F* E 72 72 -- -- 144
T40 Scott Hoch E F* -1 73 71 -- -- 144
T40 Doug Garwood E F* -2 74 70 -- -- 144
T40 Olin Browne E F* 1 71 73 -- -- 144
T40 Ken Tanigawa E F* -3 75 69 -- -- 144
T40 Duffy Waldorf E F* E 72 72 -- -- 144
T47 Steve Flesch 1 F* -2 75 70 -- -- 145
T47 Tim Petrovic 1 F* -2 75 70 -- -- 145
T47 Kevin Sutherland 1 F* E 73 72 -- -- 145
T50 Gene Sauers 2 F* 2 72 74 -- -- 146
T50 Carlos Franco 2 F* -2 76 70 -- -- 146
T50 Spike McRoy 2 F* 1 73 73 -- -- 146
T50 Jeff Sluman 2 F* 1 73 73 -- -- 146
T50 David McKenzie 2 F* -5 79 67 -- -- 146
T55 Scott McCarron 3 F* 2 73 74 -- -- 147
T55 Bart Bryant 3 F* 1 74 73 -- -- 147
T55 Wes Short, Jr. 3 F* E 75 72 -- -- 147
T55 Tommy Tolles 3 F* 3 72 75 -- -- 147
T55 Vijay Singh 3 F* 3 72 75 -- -- 147
T60 John Huston 4 F* 1 75 73 -- -- 148
T60 Mark Calcavecchia 4 F* -1 77 71 -- -- 148
T60 Woody Austin 4 F* 2 74 74 -- -- 148
T60 Tom Pernice Jr. 4 F* -3 79 69 -- -- 148
T60 Chris DiMarco 4 F* 1 75 73 -- -- 148
T60 Russ Cochran 4 F* 1 75 73 -- -- 148
T60 Mark McNulty 4 F* -2 78 70 -- -- 148
T60 Fran Quinn 4 F* 1 75 73 -- -- 148
68 Paul Lawrie 5 F* 1 76 73 -- -- 149
T69 Steve Pate 6 F* E 78 72 -- -- 150
T69 Len Mattiace 6 F* 2 76 74 -- -- 150
71 Jerry Smith 7 F* -1 80 71 -- -- 151
72 Bob Gilder 8 F* 2 78 74 -- -- 152
73 Tom Kite 12 F* 7 77 79 -- -- 156
74 Tom Gillis 17 F* 8 81 80 -- -- 161
WD Dudley Hart -- -- -- 76 -- -- -- 76
WD Colin Montgomerie -- -- -- 74 75 -- -- 149
WD Larry Nelson -- -- -- 73 36 -- -- 109
DQ Jesper Parnevik -- -- -- 70 72 -- -- 142