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Golf: Steve Stricker leads hometown PGA Tour Champions event

Steve Stricker made himself at home at the top of the leaderboard on a rainy and breezy Friday at the American Family Insurance Championship.

The hometown star and tournament host shot an eight-under 64 at University Ridge to take a one-stroke lead over Brad Bryant in the PGA Tour Champions event. Because of the wet conditions, the players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways.

John Daly, Colin Montgomerie and Steve Flesch shot 67. Daly returned from a knee injury that sidelined him for three events.

Splitting time between the PGA Tour and the 50-and-over circuit, the 51-year-old Stricker had his 30th consecutive Champions round under par, the fourth-longest streak in tour history.

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Stricker won in Arizona and Mississippi in consecutive starts in May for his first senior victories. The 12-time PGA Tour winner played the big tour the last two weeks, tying for 18th in Memphis and tying for 20th in the U.S. Open.

Fellow Madison player Jerry Kelly and Illinois coach Mike Small, Stricker’s teammate with the Illini, were at 68 with Bernhard Langer, Scott Verplank, Jeff Sluman, Glen Day, Billy Mayfair, Doug Garwood, Jerry Smith and Rocco Mediate. Defending champion Fred Couples had a 69.

Stricker played alongside Vijay Singh and Davis Love III. Singh shot 81, and Love 72.

Brian Harman moves into 1st place at Travelers Championship

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Brian Harman shot a 66 on Friday to move to 10-under par and into first place after the morning rounds at the Travelers Championship.

Harman had his short game working again, putting just 26 times on the second round after needing just 23 on the first round. He finished two shots ahead of Bryson DeChambeau, who also shot a four-under 66, and Paul Casey, who was three-under par for the day.

Two-time Travelers champion Bubba Watson, who was at even par coming into Friday, shot a 63 to move into contention heading into the weekend, three shots behind the leader.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, who was tied for the lead after a first-round 63, shot a 73 on Friday, which included an eight on the par-five 13th hole. Thursday’s other co-leader, Zach Johnson, was on the course Friday afternoon.

Gaby Lopez shoots 63 to lead LPGA’s NW Arkansas Championship

Former Arkansas star Gaby Lopez shot a career-low 8-under 63 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship.

Lopez, a three-time All-American for the Razorbacks, matched her career best by finishing at 8 under — doing so after missing the cut in her last two tournaments. The Mexican player began the tournament at Pinnacle Country Club ranked 136th in the world but finished just two shots off the course record of 10 under in her third year on the LPGA Tour.

Moriya Jutanugarn was a stroke back along with Minjee Lee, Catriona Matthew, Nasa Hataoka, Lizette Salas, Mirim Lee and Aditi Ashok.

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Local favorite Stacy Lewis, expecting her first child in early November, had a 66.

Defending champion So Yeon Ryu, coming off a victory Sunday in Michigan, shot a 67.


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