San Antonio, TX – Larry Nelson birdied the last hole on Saturday to take the outright lead after the second round of the AT&T Championship.
Nelson, 63, shot a four-under 67 on Saturday and finished 36 holes at 10-under 132. He won this title at Oak Hills Country Club in 2001 and has 19 victories on the Champions Tour, but none since 2004.
If Nelson can hoist the trophy on Sunday, he would become the oldest winner in tour history. Mike Fetchick won the 1985 Hilton Head Seniors International on his 63rd birthday. Nelson will be 63 years, one month and 21 days on Halloween Sunday.
Jay Don Blake fired a seven-under 64 on Saturday and is tied for second place with Steve Lowery (67) and Chien Soon Lu (68). The trio is knotted at nine- under 133.
John Cook and Mark Wiebe shared the first-round lead with Nelson, Lu and Hale Irwin, but both Cook and Wiebe posted two-under 69s in round two. They are tied for fifth place with Jeff Sluman (66) and Rod Spittle (68) at minus- eight.
Irwin, 65, managed an even-par 71 and is tied for 10th at six-under 136.
With Irwin's chances of being the oldest winner evaporating, the focus shifts to Nelson.
He started his round with a six-foot birdie putt at the first, then added another at the third. Nelson parred the next five to stay at eight-under par and near the lead.
At the ninth, Nelson drained an 18-foot birdie putt. He made it two in a row thanks to a 10-footer at the par-five 10th. Nelson was 10-under par and alone atop the leaderboard.
Nelson's stint in first by himself didn't last long. At the 12th, Nelson drove into the trees on the right, but had a clear shot at the green. He hit a poor second short of the green and walked off with a bogey.
Nelson reclaimed first on his own with a two-putt birdie at the par-five 15th. He fell back into a tie for the lead when he missed the green at 17 and bogeyed the hole.
Nelson was tied with Blake, Lowery and Lu until the par-three closing hole. Nelson hit his tee ball to six feet and cashed in on the birdie putt that put him on top.
"I'm hitting the ball well and I feel really comfortable with the putter," Nelson said in a televised interview. "If I get a little bit more comfortable with the wedges tomorrow, I think I'll be okay."
It's been a while since the Hall of Famer was in contention, but Nelson handled it.
"I was really kind of amazed that I wasn't as nervous today as I thought I might (be)," Nelson said in a television interview. "We'll see what happens tomorrow."
Olin Browne shot a four-under 67 and is alone in ninth at seven-under 135.
NOTES: None of the three players in second place have won on the Champions Tour...Lowery is making only his second start on the elder circuit...Leading money winner Bernhard Langer shot a four-under 67 and moved into a tie for 10th at six-under par...This is the final full-field event of the season...Defending champion Phil Blackmar managed a two-under 69 and is tied for 19th at minus-five.