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Bland leads, Australians hovering in Senior PGA major

Richard Bland feels he struggled on the greens but still managed a 5-under 66 in the second round at Harbour Shores to set the target at the Senior PGA Championship.

Englishman Bland, who won his first European tour title at 48 and joined Saudi-funded LIV Golf a year later, is at 12-under 130 in his senior major debut.

He has a one-shot lead over Scott Dunlap and is three ahead of Chris DiMarco (65).

South African Ernie Els and Brian Gay (US) are at eight under.

Joint overnight leader Richard Green shot an even-par 71 to drop into a large tie for sixth at 7 under.

The Australian, who had five birdies and five bogeys on Friday, is one shot ahead of compatriots Scott Hend (68) and Michael Wright (67).

Greg Chalmers (68) is a further stroke behind.

Bland was exempt to play the Senior PGA Championship last year under a category for players winning European tour events in the last five years - he won the British Masters at age 48 in 2021. But last year's Senior PGA was the same week as LIV Golf Bedminster.

With no conflict this year, he inquired about cashing in on the one-time exemption and the PGA of America offered him an invitation.

Bland has been leaning on his driving accuracy, even as he waits for his putter to warm up on the tricky Jack Nicklaus-designed greens.

He made his first bogey on the par-4 fourth when he failed to get up-and-down, and Bland considers the next hole key to his round - all because of a fly.

"As I was hitting my tee shot - literally as I was starting my downswing - a fly came straight across the ball," Bland said. "I saw it and I hit it in the left trap. For that hole, I would've been reaching that, especially with it being downwind and off the right. I could have probably hit maybe even iron into that hole today."

Instead, he had to lay up and then managed to get up-and-down from 130 yards for birdie.

"That was good to get the momentum back straight after the bogey on 4," Bland said. "That was pretty important."

Dunlap, who won earlier this year on the PGA Tour Champions, was challenging for the lead with seven birdies until he lost a scoring opportunity by making bogey on the par-5 16th. He still posted a 65 and was not in the mood to complain.

"That's as good of golf as I've got," Dunlap said. "Obviously, I won recently, so got a little bit of confidence, maybe figured a few things out."

DiMarco's highlight was holing out a bunker shot on the par-5 10th for eagle.

Defending champion Steve Stricker, who had never played at Harbour Shores, is 1 over for the round through 12 holes and eight shots behind Bland.