Stricker/Kelly among Shark Shootout leaders
NAPLES, Fla. – Champions Tour players Fred Funk and Kenny Perry shot a 10-under 62 in better-ball play Saturday for a share of the second-round lead in the Shark Shootout with defending champions Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly.
Stricker and Kelly, who rallied to beat Perry and J.B. Holmes last year in the final round, had a 63 to match Funk and Perry at 18 under on the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort’s Tiburon Golf Club course.
Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter shot a 64 to finish at 17 under.
The 12 teams will play a scramble format Sunday.
Last year, Perry and Holmes had a two-stroke lead with four holes to play in the final-round scramble format, only to see Stricker and Kelly take the title.
“I’m not taking for granted anything,” said Perry, who won with John Huston in 2006 and Scott Hoch in 2008. “They’re great putters; we’re good putters. If I drive it well, it’s going to set up the whole day for us.”
Stricker and Kelly, both from Madison, Wis., birdied four of their last six holes.
“When we’re playing together and we’re feeding off each other, it’s fun,” said Kelly, who did most of the talking because Stricker is losing his voice. “A fun, competitive arena. But we’re just really going to enjoy what we’re doing, and not really worry about where everybody else is.”
Perry birdied the first six holes of the day, and Funk made three of the team’s four remaining birdies. Funk was amazed by Perry’s streak, which ended when he missed a 4-footer for birdie on No. 7.
“Nobody’s hit it that good for that long a stretch that I’ve seen,” said Funk, who characterized Perry’s play as the best in his 21 or 22 years of professional golf. “That was phenomenal. I’ve seen some really good golf for 18 holes, but that seven holes was as good a quality as you’ll ever see.”
Perry admitted missing the short birdie putt shook him up a little bit.
“I was so zoned in for the first seven holes, when I missed that putt on No. 7, it was like somebody stuck a needle in a balloon,” he said. “Life just went right out of my body. It was the weirdest feeling. It was like all of a sudden my focus, I lost it for a few holes.”