KETTERING, Ohio (AP) – Tom Watson, chasing his second major championship in two weeks, shot a 6-under 65 to tie Craig Stadler and Loren Roberts for the lead through Friday’s second round of the U.S. Senior Open.

The leaders were upstaged by a tired Arnold Palmer’s post-round declaration that he would no longer play any major championships. In his 50 years of Grand Slam competition, Palmer has won seven majors in addition to five as a senior.

Watson, Stadler and Roberts – all of whom played in the morning wave – are at 9-under 133, matching the tournament record for lowest score through 36 holes.

Watson, who won last week’s Senior British Open in a playoff, began the day behind Stadler by four shots. Stadler tied the Senior Open’s first-round record with an opening 64. Watson, who lost in a playoff to Don Pooley in the Senior Open three years ago, hit four shots to within a foot of the flag for birdies, but fell back into a tie for the lead with a bogey on his last hole.

Roberts, playing in just his second tournament for the over-50 set, followed an opening 66 with a 67 that included five birdies and a bogey.

Stadler, a former Masters winner with 13 PGA Tour and eight Champions Tour victories to his credit, was even-par through 12 holes, but birdied the par-3 13th and the par-4 18th to pull into the three-way tie for the top spot. He shot a 69 in the second round.

Wayne Levi, who has hit all but one fairway in two days, shot a 67 on the heels of an opening 68 and was two strokes back at 7-under 135. Des Smyth, who lost to Watson in the playoff last week, shot a 66 and was tied with Raymond Floyd at 136. Floyd won the last major championship played at NCR Country Club, the 1969 PGA Championship.

Bruce Summerhays (69), Mark McNulty (67), Tom Jenkins (matching Watson’s 65 for the low round of the day) and D.A. Weibring (67) were next at 137.

Greg Norman, also playing his second seniors event, shot a 70 despite a double-bogey at the par-5 6th hole and joined Allen Doyle at 138.

Hale Irwin, the 1998 and 2000 Senior Open winner, followed his opening 71 with a 69 and was at 140. Tom Purtzer, who started the day a shot back of Stadler after a first-round 65, wilted to a 76 that left him at 141.

Defending champion Peter Jacobsen shot a 72 and was at 143.

Among those missing the cut of 145 was 1988 and 89 U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange.

AP-ES-07-29-05 1907EDT

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