Kenny Perry, trying at 48 to become golf’s oldest major champion, fired a bogey-free five-under 67 in swirling wind on Friday to match Chad Campbell for the lead late in round two of the Masters.
Campbell, the 2003 PGA Championship runner-up seeking his first major crown, and US Ryder Cup teammate Perry, seeking his first win in 42 major starts, each birdied the 18th to stand on nine-under 135 after 36 holes.
“That was probably one of the greatest rounds I’ve ever played,” Perry said. “I was so comfortable out there. I don’t know how to explain it. The wind is really swirling. You’ve got to be really careful out there. It was just easy.”
Eight months past his 48th birthday, Perry would be four months older than fellow American Julius Boros, who set the major age win mark at the 1968 PGA Championship, and two years beyond Jack Nicklaus as the oldest Masters winner.
“I really believe I can win,” Perry said. “Will I? I don’t know, but I’m driving it beautifully. If I keep hitting the fairways like I’ve been doing it’s going to be great.”
World No. 1 Tiger Woods, seeking his 15th major title to pull three shy of matching Nicklaus’ all-time record, took a second bogey in as many days at 18 to finish on par 72 and stand seven off the lead.
“A lot of wasted opportunities. I didn’t get a whole lot out of my round again,” Woods said. “I need to play better than I have, make a few more putts and get it going.”
Woods, trying to become the first winner since Nicklaus in 1986 from outside the top 10 after 36 holes, birdied the sixth and eighth, but followed each with a bogey. He birdied 15, but lipped out for par at 18.
Perry, who missed the cut in five of eight prior Masters, opened with back-to-back birdies, added more at the par-three 12th and par-five 15th and hit his approach three feet from the pin on 18 for another to equal Campbell.
“It feels great, but we’re only halfway there,” Campbell said. “There’s a lot of golf to be played.”
Campbell rolled in a tense 25-foot downhill birdie putt on the 18th that likely would have rolled well beyond the hole had it not dropped in the cup.
“It was moving pretty good. I’m glad it hit the hole. That’s what it’s there for,” Campbell said. “A good way to end, good vibes going into the weekend.”
Argentina’s Angel Cabrera, the 2007 US Open champion, fired a four-under 68 in the late afternoon to seize third on 136, two strokes ahead of American Todd Hamilton, the 2004 British Open winner, and three atop South African Tim Clark.
“I’m very confident,” Cabrera said. “I’m very comfortable with my swing and my putting stroke.”
Anthony Kim, another US Ryder Cup player, set a Masters record with 11 birdies in his seven-under 65, the day’s lowest round. The old 18-hole birdie mark of 10 was set by Zimbabwe’s Nick Price in the 1986 third round.
“I really don’t know what happened,” Kim said. “The putter got hot and my confidence got a little bigger every hole. I made some big putts. When the putter is hot, nothing really gets in your way.”
Kim, who shared 75th on Thursday after a 75, was hoping to book a weekend stay in his Masters debut and wound up jumping into contention for a green jacket on four-under 140.
“I just tried to play smart,” Kim said. “I’m getting the speed of the greens better. At the same time, the greens are going to be different on the weekend so it’s still going to be tough.”