Allen Takes Charge at U.S. Senior Open

Michael Allen fired a brilliant 7-under 63 Friday to take a five-stroke lead through 36 holes of the 34th U.S. Senior Open. The fourth of five majors this season on the Champions Tour began Thursday at the par-70 Omaha Country Club in Nebraska.

Allen, a 54-year-old Californian and four-time winner on the over-50 circuit - including the 2009 Senior PGA Championship, carded five birdies on the front nine for a 5-under 30, then posted a 33 - with a birdie, eagle on the par-5 14th and a bogey on the 12th - on the home half to reach 10-under 130, five shots ahead of Rocco Mediate (67) and six in front of Jeff Sluman (67).

Allen opened with a 67 for a share of the lead with Jay Don Blake, Kenny Perry, Gary Hallberg, Tom Lehman, Mark O'Meara and Fred Funk.

The prospects of winning this week aren't lost on Allen. "Growing up in America and winning a USGA event would be phenomenal. It would be a feather in my hat," he said at greenside.

Sharing fourth seven strokes behind the leader are Funk (70) and Jeff Brehaut (68). Another stroke back are Lehman and O'Meara, who both had 71s. Gary Koch, whose "day job" is an analyst for NBC Sports' golf telecasts, carded an impressive 68 and is tied with Duffy Waldorf (69) in eighth at 139.

Two Australians - Peter Fowler and Steve Elkington - both carded even-par 70s to tie for 10th at 140 with Americans Fred Couples (69), Tom Watson (70) and Perry (73), and Mexico's Esteban Toledo (69).

Hallberg and Blake both had 74s to drop into 16th at 1-over 141 with fellow Americans Jeff Freeman (68), David Eger (71), Bart Bryant (69), John Riegger (69), Steve Pate (69) and Steve Lowery (72), and Aussie Peter Senior (73).

Other scores included a 74 by 2010 U.S. Senior Open champion Bernhard Langer, which dropped the German into a tie for 25th at 142 with, among others, Champions Tour rookie, Colin Montgomerie of Scotland, who shot 73.

The cut was set at 5-over 145. The only amateur to qualify for the weekend is Doug Hanzel, a 55-year-old medical doctor from Savannah, Ga. Three-time major winner Larry Nelson made the cut right on the number.

Defending champion Roger Chapman of England missed the cut following rounds of 74 and 76.

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