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Watson two back at Champions event

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KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii — Dan Forsman had six back-nine birdies for a 7-under 65 and a two-stroke lead Saturday after the second round of the Champions Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Forsman, a two-time winner on the 50-and-over tour, had a 12-under 132 total at Hualalai Resort.

Brad Bryant had the day’s low round, an 8-under 64, to match 2010 champion Tom Watson (65) and Jeff Sluman (66) at 10 under.

Forsman was back in the pack after playing the front nine in 35. He birdied the first two holes on the back nine, pitching to a foot at No. 10 and hitting a round-changing approach shot to No. 11.

“The shot of the day had to be my second shot at 11,” Forsman said. “I hit a 5-iron 185 yards from a gnarly, rough lie and chased it to the back edge of the green. I knocked in an 8-footer for birdie. That shot could have gone anywhere. It could have been long, over, behind the green in a bunker, right or left, but I got the 3 and it was a super boost to my round.

It got me thinking, `I could turn a corner here. It could be a good day.”’

He was prophetic. Forsman moved into a tie for first with birdies at Nos. 13 and 14, and pulled ahead by sinking an 11-foot birdie putt at the 17th and hitting within 2 feet on the final hole to set up another birdie. The five-time PGA Tour winner needed just 21 putts in his round.

Bryant played a bogey-free round, chipping in for two of his eight birdies. His last win was the 2007 U.S. Senior Open.

Watson also avoided bogeys and eagled the 10th hole. At 62 years, 4 months, 18 days, he would be the third-oldest winner in Champions Tour history if he pulls it off Sunday. Watson has eight top-10 finishes in 11 previous starts in the event.

“I think I’ll have to shoot 65 or better to have a chance to win, depending on what the wind does,” Watson said. “If it blows like this, that’s the right score. If it dies like it did three or four years ago (2006) — I was in fourth place and it died. I shot 8-under 64 and lost a spot. I lost a spot and finished fifth. That’s what can happen on this golf course. It’s a good course to get the Champions Tour going.”

Michael Allen and Jay Haas were tied for fifth, three shots back. Defending champion John Cook fired a 66 to share seventh with Jay Don Blake, Denis Watson, Loren Roberts and Bruce Vaughan, who was tied for first after the opening round with 2011 player of the year Tom Lehman. Lehman was one of 12 players, in a field of 41, who did not break par Saturday. His even-par 72 put him in a tie for 12th, four shots back, with Russ Cochran. Fred Couples was another shot at 6 under after a bogey-free 66.