BETHESDA -- Tommy Aaron, having what he says is a so-so year on the Senior Tour, called his 170-yard, 4-iron shot on Congressional Country Club's 15th hole "my shot of the day."
He had driven into the left rough at the 419-yard hole, and his ensuing shot wound up five feet left of the flagstick. That was the last of his four back-nine birdies that pushed him into a tie for the lead with Tom Weiskopf halfway through the Senior Open.
The 4-under-par 68 is his best round in eight starts in this event, and his 36-hole total of 138 is also his best.
This year, he has two top 10 Senior Tour finishes and is 37th on the money list with $152,000.
"I was having lunch before I played, and saw [Tom] Weiskopf was 6-under," Aaron said. "I didn't dwell on it, but the thought goes through your mind what you have to shoot to tie. I was just going out there and do my business."
He birdied the first hole, setting it up with a smooth 7-iron shot to five feet.
"After that, I was just trying to keep the same rhythm," he said.
There was another birdie and two bogeys on the front, before the Georgian, 58, reeled off three birdies in a row, beginning at No. 10.
At the 17th, he missed an eight-foot birdie putt for the outright lead, then coaxed home a 12-footer for par at the last hole. "I was glad to see that putt go in," he said of his final stroke.
"I missed more fairways and greens than yesterday [Thursday], but got more out of it. That's golf, I guess. That [hitting fairways and greens] is very unusual for me, but it has been the key for me so far."
Vinny Giles, of Richmond, Va. (74-73), and Larry Ringer of the Country Club at Woodmore (68-80) were the only area players to make the cut, Of the others, David Oakley of Vienna, Va., made the best showing, 77-77154, followed by amateur Peter Jacobi, Vienna, Va., 80-80160; Billy King, Roanoke, Va., 85-75160; and amateur Jack Vardaman, D.C., 82-79161.
Mike McGinnis, from Holly Hills CC, withdrew from the second round because of a back injury.
McGinnis, who golfed with former President George Bush six times, had nine bogeys, a triple bogey and a quadruple bogey in the opening round. In June, McGinnis, 56, became the oldest golfer ever to play in the Kemper Open.
Bob Betley had a 67, including the day's only eagle (No. 11), for the low round of the tournament and jumped up to 143. . . . Aaron, Hale Irwin (140), Lee Trevino (141), and Englishman John Morgan (142) had the only 68s. . . . Jack Nicklaus had three bogeys, but likes his position, four shots behind the leaders. "I'm all right. All I need is a good round of golf and I'm right back in the tournament," he said. . . . Of the 63 players at 150, the only amateurs are Bob Housen and Giles.