By the Associated Press--(Dallas) Bob Murphy showed Saturday that he may be completely recovered from the knee problems that plagued him earlier this year.
Murphy, who hasn't won a tournament in three years, sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th green for his second consecutive 6-under-par 66 and a two-shot lead after 36 holes of the wind-blown Bank One Senior Championship.
Murphy's 12-under-par 132 put him two shots ahead of Jim Thorpe, Gil Morgan and first-day leader Bill Brask. Thorpe and Morgan each shot second straight 67s, while Brask rallied after two early bogeys for a 70 after his opening round of 64.
Murphy's last victory was the 1997 Toshiba Classic where he beat Jay Sigel in a nine-hole playoff, holing an 80-foot putt to do it. Murphy, a part-time television broadcaster for NBC, has 12 PGA Senior Tour victories.
"I was driving it well and putting it well," Murphy said. "You can't get much better than that."
Murphy had surgery on his right knee and has slowly been rounding back into shape.
"I'd say that the last 12 or 13 weeks Bob Murphy is playing like he knows how to play," Murphy said. "I'm playing with a lot more confidence than a man should have who hasn't won it several years. I really made a couple of long putts that kept me going."
Murphy sank a 40-foot birdie putt on one hole and used only 26 putts as he circled the course. The long putt came him a birdie deuce on the 216-yard No. 8.
Larry Nelson, the second-leading tour money winner, is three shots behind Murphy after bogeying the 18th when he missed the green on his second shot and failed to get it up and down for par. Nelson finished with a 68 to go with his first-round 67.
Defending champion Tom Watson, who shot 62 on the final round to win his first senior event last year, was at 138 after a 68 on the Bent Tree Country club where the wind gusted to 21 mph and temperatures reached 97 degrees.
Hometown hero Lee Trevino blew to a 4-over-par 40 on the back nine and finished with a 73. On the 388-yard, par-4 No. 12, Trevino hit his drive into the water and took double-bogey. He then three-putted the next hole.
Thorpe had the most exciting shot of the day when his 210-yard 4-iron on No. 6 lipped out of the hole. He made a 3-footer for eagle.
"I almost made that double-eagle," Thorpe said. "It just rolled over the edge of the hole. It was an easy putt for eagle."
Morgan said it will take a low score to win on Sunday.
"I think I'll need another 67, and that might not be low enough," he said.
Gusty winds made it a tricky day judging club selection and it could get tricker for the final round of Sunday. Rain and wind were forecast as a cold front swept down from the north.
Doug Tewell (71), John Mahaffey (68), Dana Quigley (66), John Morgan (71) and Tom Kite (69) were all at 137. Kite is looking for his first professional victory in his home state of Texas.
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.