After finally winning on the Champions Tour in April at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am, the three-time major champion liked his chances to wrap up the title that eluded him last year when he faded to a third-place finish at Glen Oaks.
This years a little different. Im obviously a little more comfortable, having had the win under my belt, Price said after shooting a 4-under 67 on Saturday. But its going to be a shootout tomorrow. This field is so bunched up.
Price had a 7-under 135 total. Joey Sindelar (67) and Mark Wiebe (68) were 6 under, and Fred Funk (69) and Mark McNulty (69) were 5 under. Mike Reid had a 66, the best round of the day, to top a six-player group at 4 under.
Two-time defending champion Jay Haas was 3 under after a 67.
Price overcame two early bogeys Saturday with an eagle on No. 9, then nearly made a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th.
Sindelar and Wiebe both three-putted 18 to miss a chance to tie Price.
Wiebe, who has just one top-10 finish this season, is shooting for his first title since the Cap Cana Championship in April 2008.
I like the way Im swinging, for sure, and my attitude is pretty good, Wiebe said. Obviously the last hole is frustrating, to end that way, but Ive played good. I like the way Im playing, I like being in the hunt.
Three players entered the second round with a share of the lead for the first time in the tournaments nine-year history. They all shot over par Saturday to fall back into the pack.
Native Iowan Lonnie Nielsen had double bogeys on the par-4 10th and par-3 14th and finished with a 72. Nielsen, who also held a share of lead after last years first round before faltering, was tied for 12th at 3 under.
Bruce Vaughans day disintegrated after an opening birdie. Vaughan went through a stretch with four bogeys in eight holes ' all on par 4s. He had a 74 to drop into a tie for 23rd at 1 under. Tour newcomer Olin Browne bogeyed his final two holes for a 73, leaving him five strokes behind Price at 2 under
Andy Bean, who finished second last year, withdrew after five holes because of a left foot injury. Bean, who opened with a 68, had three straight bogeys before pulling out.
Perhaps the biggest factor for the final round could be the wind, which is often a major issue at Glen Oaks. Its expected to change directions from northwest to southeast on Sunday, with gusts of up to 25 mph.
Itll probably throw everyone a curveball, Wiebe said. Youve got to be on your toes.