One day after rejuvenating fan interest, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus slammed on the breaks and threw it in reverse at the Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J.
Meanwhile, Jim Thorpe continued to go forward.
A two-time winner a year ago, Thorpe followed an opening 67 with a Friday 69 to move to 8-under-par through 36 holes. Hes one shot clear of rookie Bob Gilder, who also shot 69.
The 52-year-old Thorpe had five birdies and four bogeys to go along with an eagle from the greenside bunker on the par-5 13th.
If I go out and play the way I played the last couple of days, they wont beat me, said Thorpe.
Palmer, fresh off shooting his age (71) in the first round, hit his first shot of the second round out of bounds. He carded a quadruple-bogey 8 en route to an 11-over-par 83.
Im embarrassed by the way I played, but Ive done it before and I hope that Ill have the opportunity to do it again, said Palmer. Ill probably take the day off, maybe the week off, maybe a year off.
At 10-over for the tournament, Palmer easily missed the cut.
Nicklaus and Player will be around for the weekend, but have a lot of work to do on Saturday to get into contention.
Nicklaus, who shot 68 in the first round, was seven shots higher in round two. The 61-year-old fell to 1-over for the tournament, tied for 10th place with, among others, Player, who posted a second-round 73.
You always feel like you can bounce back, said Nicklaus, who hasnt won an individual event since 1996. I hope I can. I put myself in a pretty awkward position.
Bruce Fleisher (69) owns solo third place at 5-under-par. 1999 Senior PGA champion Allen Doyle is alone in fourth place at 4-under after back-to-back 70s.
Fleisher has 13 career Senior victories, but has yet to claim a major championship.
Tom Watson also moved up the leaderboard with a second-round 69. Watson, who won all of the majors on the PGA Tour except the PGA Championship, is tied with Howard Twitty (70), Dana Quigley (71) and Stewart Ginn (68) at 3-under.
Defending champion Doug Tewell is nine shots off the lead heading into the weekend. This years Tradition winner shot a second-round 75 to fall to 1-over for the tournament.
England's Tommy Horton, who opened in 77, was disqualified. Horton was playing a TaylorMade R360 driver, a non-conforming model in the United States but legal in Europe.
'I had no idea TaylorMade made a non-conforming driver,' a stunned Horton said.
Full-field scores from the Senior PGA Championship