Cochran Sets Pace in SAS Championship

Russ Cochran fired his second straight 6-under 66 to take over the lead in the SAS Championship. The $2.1 million, 54-hole Champions Tour event is being held at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C.

The 54-year Cochran, a left-hander from Paducah, Ky., and a four-time winner on the over-50 circuit, carded seven birdies and a bogey Saturday to reach 12-under 132, two shots ahead of Kirk Triplett, SAS defending champion Bernhard Langer and David Frost, all of whom posted their second consecutive 67s.

"They were going in from everywhere," said Cochran of his early birdie binge of five in the first six holes. "It just felt comfortable and felt easy."

Of the lone bogey Saturday on the seventh hole that halted his run, Cochran remarked, "I kind of let it slip. It's not often you get in that groove where you know something good's going to happen. And you've got to shoot so low to win. There's five or six world-class players obviously that are right there, and I know I'll have to really play well (Sunday)."

Triplett is looking for his second title in a row after winning the previous event on the Champions Tour, the First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, two weeks ago. "I didn't play my best round the last two days, but I got a lot out of them," said Triplett, whose only two wins on the Champions Tour came at Pebble Beach in 2012 and this year.

"I'm not afraid to make a few putts, and I'm not afraid to be in contention and looking forward to tomorrow. I feel like if I can play a little bit better and continue to putt the same way, I can shoot a very low score."

Three behind Cochran is Michael Allen (68), while four strokes back are Anders Forsbrand (67), Kenny Perry (68) and Craig Stadler (68).

Larry Nelson, who got off to a great start after shooting his age of 66, followed up with a 75 to drop into a share of 29th at 141. Mark Mouland, who also opened with a 66 and was the 18-hole co-leader with Cochran and Nelson, posted a 77 Saturday.

Jeff Sluman was disqualified after he revealed to rules officials before the start of Saturday's second round that he had used two models of balls during play on Friday. No penalty strokes were assessed after that round, but because he signed an incorrect scorecard he was DQ-ed. Sluman opened with a 68.

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