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Couples in charge at Senior Players; Fires a 66 to lead by one

HARRISON -- Fred Couples shot a 5-under 66 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Senior Players Championship, the Champions Tour's final major of the season.

Couples is at 8 under for the tournament and trying for his fifth Champions Tour victory. Playing in his first event since undergoing non-traditional back treatment six weeks ago in Germany, Couples has put together two solid rounds at Westchester Country Club's tree-lined West Course.

"I drove the ball very well," Couples said. "I didn't make many mistakes. I don't want to say I left any out there. I did miss a couple but I made a few too, so it was a good day."

Couples turned in his best two opening rounds since the Northern Trust Open in California in February. After a seventh-place finish there, Couples struggled in his next three tournaments, which led him to have the procedure.

Peter Senior remains in second at 7 under after a second-round 69. Corey Pavin is third at 6 under after a second-round 69. John Cook is fourth at 5 under after a second-round 68, one stroke ahead of defending champion Mark O'Meara. O'Meara shot a 70 and is in a three-way tie at 4 under with first-round leader Jeff Sluman (73) and Morris Hatalsky (67).

Gary Hallberg, who tied with Senior in the first round, fell seven strokes behind with a 75.

"To be in contention is good for me, to go out Saturday and kind of get the feeling of having to hit a good shot here, make a putt there or get it up and down," Couples said. "So I'm in good spirits about the way I'm feeling and playing."

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Gainey still hot

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Tommy Gainey is struggling with his tee shots. He's having a tough time with his irons. He's fighting a nagging wrist injury.

And he's got one of the best two-round scores in Wyndham Championship history.

Gainey shot a 65 on Friday to move to 12-under 128 and take a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the final event before the start of golf's postseason.

Gainey, who shared the first-round lead with Jeff Quinney, had six birdies and has the second-best 36-hole score in the history of the tournament.

Ernie Els (66), Webb Simpson (65), Stuart Appleby (67) and Daniel Summerhays (65) were at 131. Jim Furyk (67), Alexandre Rocha (66), Paul Casey (67) and Retief Goosen (65) were four strokes back at 132.

After recording five birdies and an eagle a day earlier during his career-best-tying 63, Gainey said he was "going to light it up" against the fresh greens he would face Friday morning.

It didn't happen quite like that, but he did turn in another solid round that kept him in contention for his first PGA Tour win.

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Choi hangs on to lead

NORTH PLAINS, Ore. -- Na Yeon Choi would like to have the 18th hole at Pumpkin Ridge back.

Choi double-bogeyed the par-4 final hole, but her 6-under 65 held up for the first-round lead at the LPGA Safeway Classic on Friday.

Grace Park, who has withdrawn or been cut in 38 of her last 67 tournaments, was two strokes back with a 67 after the first round. Se Ri Pak, Anna Nordqvist, M.J. Hur and Ashli Bunch all shot 68s.

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