Nati Harnik Associated Press Michael Allen sizes up a putt on the 18th green. Allen had what he called "a miracle shot" on the 14th hole for an eagle. "It was nice it went in, and it was kind of out of my control," he said.

Allen breaks free of pack at the U.S. Senior Open

Published: Saturday, Jul. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Monday, Jul. 15, 2013 - 6:50 am

OMAHA, Neb. – Michael Allen raised his arms and looked skyward.

The long, hard-breaking eagle putt that defined his round of 7-under-par 63 Friday had just finished its uphill journey to the back of the cup on the 14th hole.

"The miracle shot," he called it.

Allen said he wanted to lag the ball to within 10 feet. That it went in was a bonus.

"It wasn't about me," he said. "Obviously, something else happened. What do you say? The Lord did it or whatever. It was nice it went in, and it was kind of out of my control."

Just about everything else went right for the 54-year-old Allen, too. His best round of the year put him at 10 under after the second round of the U.S. Senior Open and allowed him to break away from the pack for a five-stroke lead.

The cushion was the largest after 36 holes in the tournament's 34-year history.

"Man, oh, man. The biggest lead?" Allen said with a smile. "So I can blow the biggest lead. Is that what you're telling me?"

Rocco Mediate was Allen's closest pursuer after he shot a bogey-free, 3-under 67. Jeff Sluman also had a 67 and was another shot back.

"We've got to go out and get him," Mediate said. "He ain't going to come back, more than likely."

Allen started the day sharing the lead with six other players. He birdied five of the first eight holes and went out in 30 in hot, breezy conditions at the Omaha Country Club. He hit a rough patch after he made the turn, chunking a ball in the long grass on No. 12, but everything was right after he went birdie-eagle on Nos. 13 and 14.

Allen was short with his birdie putt on the last hole, ending his bid to match the U.S. Senior Open record of 62 by Loren Roberts at Prairie Dunes in 2006. Allen's two-round total of 130 is the lowest in tournament history.

"You kind of look at the way things have gone so far," Allen said. "I've chipped in a couple times. I've played some bad shots and kind of gotten away without killing myself. There's too far to go, though. Hopefully, in the end, it's predestined, but I've got a long way to go."

Allen never won in 394 starts on the regular tour, but he has four victories since joining the Champions Tour four years ago, including the 2009 Senior PGA Championship.

PGA Tour in Silvis, Ill. – Zach Johnson put together another steady round, maintaining a share of the lead despite standout efforts from rookie Patrick Reed and Lucas Glover in the John Deere Classic.

Johnson, the defending champion, shot a 5-under 66 to join Reed and Glover atop the leaderboard at 12-under 130 following second-round play.

It "was a day of just hanging in there and letting things come. But I like the fact that I don't have to be perfect and I can still play here," Johnson said.

Reed shot a 63 in the morning session, just one year after missing the cut at TPC Deere Run – and Glover finished a shot better at 9 under.

Australia's Matt Jones is a shot back at 11 under. Troy Matteson leads a pack at 10 under, while three-time winner Steve Stricker is among those contending at 9 under.

Johnson has shot 18 consecutive rounds in the 60s at Deere Run – largely by avoiding big mistakes and scrambling out of small ones – and his ninth bogey-free round Friday was a tournament record.

"I'm just comfortable. I'm comfortable with every tee shot. I'm comfortable with every wind, and clearly I'm comfortable on the greens," Johnson said.

LPGA Tour in Waterloo, Ontario – Catriona Matthew shot a 64 to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.

Matthew's 15-under 127 at the tournament's midway point blew away her previous career-best 36-hole mark on tour by five strokes.

"It feels really good. I've holed a lot of putts, but I've given myself a lot of chances," Matthew said.

Angela Stanford shot a 67 and was second, while Inbee Park, who is looking to win her fourth straight LPGA Tour event, had a 67 and was tied with three other players at 10 under.

European Tour in Inverness, Scotland – Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson endured frustrating second rounds at the Scottish Open as the tournament's headline acts were upstaged by lesser-known players.

Chris Doak, ranked No. 341, was the surprise leader at the halfway stage after a second straight 66 left him at 12-under 132.

Matthew Southgate (64) was in a tie for second place with Ross Fisher (65), Peter Uihlein (66) and JB Hansen (65) a stroke back.

Els foundered on the greens and shot a 2-under 70 to miss the cut.

Mickelson was tied for third after his first-round 66 but dropped back into a tie for 13th after a 70.

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