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Pate, Funk top Champions Tour leaderboard

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CARY, N.C. (AP) - Steve Pate and Fred Funk shot 3-under 69 on Saturday to share the second-round lead at 8 under in the Champions Tour's SAS Championship.

Funk, the Insperity Championship winner in May for his seventh victory on the 50-and-over tour, birdied four of the last seven holes. He's eighth in the Schwab Cup standings, 1,130 points behind leader Tom Lehman.

``Well, it wasn't a very easy round, the first part,'' Funk said. ``I was really struggling with my whole game and managed to shoot 1 over on the front.

``I kept working on my swing, trying to figure something out. And I really never could figure anything out, and I tried a couple different swing keys.''

After a poor approach shot on 13, Funk said, he changed shot thoughts again.

``And all of a sudden, I started hitting it really close and hitting it really solid,'' he said. ``I hit it really good on - hit some irons really good.''

Pate is winless on the Champions Tour after winning six times on the PGA Tour. After an admittedly ``ugly'' second round, Pate said he felt better about Saturday's 69 than Friday's 67.

``(Friday) was really easy. I hit everything on line,'' Pate said. ``(Saturday), I hit nothing on line, there was nothing easy about it, but I only made one bogey, so that was good.

``I mean, that could have easily gone sideways pretty quickly, and it didn't, so that was nice.''

Jay Don Blake and Andrew Magee were a stroke behind the leaders. They shot 70.

Sixty-five-year-old Larry Nelson had a 66 to match Mark McNulty, Mark O'Meara and Mark Wiebe at 6 under. McNulty had a 68, and O'Meara and Wiebe shot 69.

``It's just kind of a personal thing, so I guess that's probably a good thing to focus on,'' Nelson said about trying to shoot his age. ``The tournament is secondary at that point. Now (Sunday), the tournament might be a little more better or a little bit more of a priority ... than it was today.''

First-round leader Russ Cochran followed his opening 66 with a 73 to finish at 5 under.

Sunday is expected to be rainy and colder, with a high in the 50s.

``I had three or four balls (Saturday) that had a significant amount of mud, and it definitely affected the shots,'' Funk said. ``You've just got to prepare for it.''

The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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