ENDICOTT, N.Y. — Through long shadows and squinting eyes, late-finishing competitors concluded Round 2 of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open on Saturday following a late-afternoon weather delay just shy of two hours.
Mike Weir will seek his second PGA Tour Champions win beginning 1 p.m. Sunday at En-Joie Golf Course following rounds of 67 and 65. His lead is one over Padraig Harrington and three over Ernie Els and Vijay Singh.
Jim Furyk is among a trio four off the lead following a 1-under 71. Beyond those, it’d take some serious doing to chase down a victory in Endicott, given the strength above.
Play was suspended a bit before 3 p.m. with the final group playing the sixth and leader Els — 9-under at the time — a hole ahead. The delay lingered 1 hour, 57 minutes.
Weir, 52 and an eight-time winner on the regular tour, made bogey on the second hole but set in motion a brilliant stretch beginning with birdie at the par-5 fifth.
“Yeah, it was a bit of a slow start,” he said. “Hit a nice shot into 2 that went a little long and made a bogey. Missed a very short putt on 3 for birdie from four feet, so it wasn’t the start I wanted. Then I hit some really nice shots. I hit a big drive on the par 5, No. 5, and just had a 7-iron in and made birdie there. Then the next hole I hit a good drive and a 9-iron to eight or 10 feet, made that one. Then I made a long one on 7, so then I had some momentum, three in a row.
“Maybe 30-foot putt on No. 7. The par 5, I was on the green with a good look for eagle again on 8, so there was four in a row there. I had a good look on 9, just missed it, and then hit it close on 10, eight feet, hit it six, eight feet on 11.
“So outside of the putt on No. 6 I made from long range, there were a lot of close putts. And then coming home I made the one birdie, made a nice birdie on 16 from an awkward position. I pulled my tee shot a little bit, got behind a tree, hit a very nice recovery shot, but it was a bonus that that putt went in there.”
Weir, 2003 Masters champion, broke through on the PGA Tour Champions with win at the 2021 Insperity Invitational, reduced to 36 holes by heavy rain. He was T4 in the late-May Senior PGA and finished T14 last weekend outside Seattle.
Of his seven birdies in an eight-hole segment beginning at the fifth, “It’s fun. You’re just thinking birdie, you’re just thinking middle of the fairway, get me in the fairway because my iron game is good and the putter’s finally starting to heat up for the first time this year. I was kind of chomping at the bit for more holes.”
Harrington, 50, was 2-under through 10 and made four birdies and a bogey coming in.
He came to Endicott on the heels of five top-three finishes in his most recent seven starts, highlighted by a win in the U.S. Senior Open. He tops the PGA Tour Champions in driving distance and birdie average, and sits third in greens in regulation.
“The happiest thing today was I rolled everything at the hole,” he said. “I think that’s the most important thing out here. At times you can struggle a bit with your confidence in the putting and I had a day today where they didn’t all drop, but I rolled the ball beautifully today. I wish I did that every day.”
Els made six birdies on the front, another at the par-5 12th, but played 2-over coming home. Last summer, rounds of 68-65-72 left him solo second at En-Joie. He was leader by three through 36 holes on the strength of that bogey-free 65 in Saturday’s second round.
Joey Sindelar, 3-under through eight, shot 70 and will begin third-round play 2-under. He is competing in the Dick’s Open for a 14th time.
Kevin Sutherland was 5-under through eight in Round 2 and closed with 69. As a rookie, he shot 13-under 59 in Round 2 of the 2014 Dick’s Open, a PGA Tour Champions record (12 birdies, 1 eagle, 18th-hole bogey).
Opening-round tri-leader Darren Clarke made birdie at the last for a 72 and sits five off the lead.
Just in case? Playoff holes will be (in order) 18-18-9 and repeated as necessary.
Last year’s 12-under, 204 total was highest by a Dick’s Open winner (Cameron Beckman) through the first 14 editions. Five times the champion cracked 16-under 200. The tournament record remains Lonnie Nielsen’s 21-under 195 in 2009.