TURNBERRY, Scotland (AP) – Eduardo Romero eagled and birdied his final two holes Friday for a 7-under 63 and shared the lead with Loren Roberts at the halfway point of the Senior British Open.

After what he described as the longest drive of his career, a 379-yarder at the par 5 17th, Romero’s blind pitch took him to within four feet of the flag for an eagle to move to 9 under.

“I hit it good, but I never hit that distance before, never,” said Romero, who added six birdies. “Then I hit a sand wedge 120 yards to the hole to four feet to make a fantastic three.”

His approach to the 18th green wound up two feet from the pin and he made that to move level with Roberts at 10-under 130.

Roberts, who won the first three tournaments on this season’s U.S. Champions Tour, carded his second 65 in a row on another day of low scoring on the Turnberry links. He appeared to be headed into the third round with a one-stroke lead until Romero made his charge.

Roberts, the only player in the field without a bogey after 36 holes, had only one mishap on his round when his second shot at 17 struck a female spectator on the head.

After apologizing to Catherine McCrindle, who did not need medical aid, Roberts went to find his ball, which had bounced over the 17th green into the rough on the other side.

“Gosh. I felt horrible because I hit my lady scorer (from Thursday’s round),” he said later. “She was OK. But I never like to see anything like that happen on a golf course. I don’t think it unsettled me, I was just concerned for her.”

Roberts’ five birdies came in the first 10 holes when he sank putts from 12 and 15 feet as well as an 18-inch tap-in at the seventh. But he finished his round with eight straight pars and acknowledged that he missed opportunities to move further ahead.

“On the back nine I left some putts short and I had a couple of good chances at 15 and 16,” he said. “But the nearest I came to a bogey was at the first when I had to make a 12-footer for par.”

The joint leaders are one ahead of Craig Stadler, who shot 66, with David Edwards at 8 under after a 65.

Stadler dropped two shots on his outward nine but came home in 31, including four 3s in a row start at the 10th.

“The course is very scoreable, although I missed two makeable putts at four and five,” said the 1982 Masters champion, who had six birdies in his round. “I still need to get the ball in play a little better.”

Defending champion Tom Watson started the day 13 shots behind the leader at 3 over but bounced back with a 67 to easily make the cut at even par.

AP-ES-07-28-06 1756EDT


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