Tim Simpson shot a five-under-par 66 Friday for a record 130 total and a two-stroke lead over Tom Watson after two rounds of the $700,000 Canon-Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open golf tournament at Cromwell, Conn.
Simpson, 30, who has admittedly been struggling for several months, challenged the usually unforgiving Tournament Players Club of Connecticut course for the second straight day and again came out on top.
"I've always been one of the more aggressive players out here," he said, explaining his seemingly blatant disregard for the abundant pot bunkers, ditches and six-acre pond on the 6,786-yard layout.
"But I think, over the years, playing like that can start to get you in trouble," he said. "So, I've tried to modify it in the last year or two. I call it intelligent-aggressive instead of raw-aggressive."
Watson, looking for his first PGA Tour victory in two years, stayed close as he shot a 67 to go with an opening-round 65 and was one stroke ahead of Dan Forsman, who shot a 68 Friday, and Roger Maltbie, who closed in on the leaders with a second-round 67.
U.S. Open champion Ray Floyd missed the cut with a 143 total.
Simpson, who shot an opening-round 64, one stroke off the course record, could have duplicated or bettered that round but missed birdie putts on the sixth, eighth and 13th holes.
"The only thing I could have done better was make those three five-foot putts that Watson or (Andy) Bean would have made routinely," he said.
Watson had two bogeys and six birdies, including three on his last four holes of the day on the older front nine.
Amy Benz, winless in three years on the LPGA Tour, shot a one-under-par 71 to retain her two-stroke lead after two rounds of the $300,000 Mazda Hall of Fame tournament at Sugar Land, Tex. The 24-year-old former All-American at SMU had a 138 total, putting her two strokes ahead of Amy Alcott, who shot a second-round 70.
Deb Richard moved into third place at 141 after a 70.
Benz, who has never before led a professional tournament after two rounds, turned in a steady round with three birdies and two bogeys but said she played the second round with the person she might have to beat for her first pro title.
"You have to watch out for Pat Bradley," said Benz, who played in the same group with the tour's leading money winner. "She bogeyed the last two (holes). That's deceiving for how well she played the first 16. She's always a force to be reckoned with." Bradley finished with a 71 and was at 143.
Severiano Ballesteros of Spain shot a six-under-par 66 and increased his lead to three shots after two rounds of the $195,000 French Open at Versailles, France.
Ballesteros had a total of 131. Canadian Ray Stewart and Argentine Vicente Fernandez shared second place at 134.
South African Gavin Levenson broke the course record with a 64 and was tied for fourth at 135.