University of Hartford grad Tim Petrovic is as close as he has ever been to a major championship – at least through 36 holes.
Petrovic, playing in the first group off the first tee Friday, made eagle 3 on No. 10 to highlight a 2-under-par 69 for a 36-hole total of 7-under 135 and a four-way tie for third that included former U of H teammate Jerry Kelly midway through the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich.
Petrovic, 51, who was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in November, had two birdies and two bogeys to go with the eagle and shares second with Kelly (65), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67), one stroke behind co-leaders Scott McCarron (68) and Kevin Sutherland (66). Petrovic had shared the first-round lead with McCarron, winner of three PGA Tour and six PGA Tour Champions titles, Barry Lane and Peter Lonard.
Sutherland birdied four of the last five holes for six in a back-nine 5-under 31 to catch McCarron, who had made birdie 4 on his final hole, No. 9, to take the lead. Kelly grabbed a share of second with three birdies in the final seven holes, including No. 18, to tie Jeff Sluman’s second-round 65 for low round of the tournament.
Petrovic had one victory in 15 years on the PGA Tour, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in 1995 in a playoff with Massachusetts native James Driscoll with brother Steve on his bag, before joining the PGA Tour Champions in 2016. He was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame two weeks after he shot 17-under 267 to finish fourth in the PGA Tour Champions qualifying school finals in Scottsdale, Ariz., and earn one of five cards for 2018. The Glastonbury native had played on the 50-and-over circuit for 18 months after the 15 years on the PGA Tour, where he earned $12.2 million. In seven starts this year, Petrovic has earned $200,697, including $98,560 for a tie for second in the Chubb Classic.
Kelly has won three times on the PGA Tour and the PGA Tour Champions, including the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the first event of 2018. He then tied for second in the Cologuard Classic and is fifth on the money list with $641,763.