Perry keeping pace with the youngsters
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - Kenny Perry can still run with the young dogs.
The soon-to-be 53-year-old shot a 3-under-par 67 during Friday's second round of the Greenbrier Classic to remain in the hunt during the weekend. Perry, who carded a 2-under 68 in Thursday's opening round, stood at 5-under 135.
Not bad for a guy who just won his first major on the Champions Tour, which is for players ages 50 and over. Perry captured the Senior Players Championship last weekend at Fox Chapel outside of Pittsburgh to avenge a final-round collapse at the Senior PGA Championship more than a month ago.
"I played nicely,'' said the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Perry of Friday's round. "I hit the ball good, a lot of greens, a lot of fairways and made some nice putts. I'm going to need a lot of good rounds this weekend to catch them. I played a Seth Raynor golf course last weekend and I'm playing another this week so it's a lot of good vibes.
"The golf course is in great shape. It's the best I've ever seen it. They've done a wonderful job with all the rain. [The greens] have had enough rain to where they'll hold. You can pretty much shoot anything at them. It's really a great golf course. It's just a treat to play.''
Perry no longer competes full time on the PGA Tour on a regular basis but enjoys the camaraderie when he does. The Elizabethtown, Ky., native has 14 Tour wins and more than $31 million in earnings during a pro career that began in 1982.
"My game's still good enough to compete out here,'' said the former Western Kentucky standout. "I don't know if I would win on a regular basis like I could in the past, but I still feel like I can hit it far enough and putt well enough.
"That gives me a lot of confidence and makes it fun when I do come out here and compete. It's an amazing game. They hit it so much farther than I do now. I used to be one of the longer guys, now I'm just an average hitter.''
It's evident that Perry is settling into his role as an elder statesman.
"It's neat to see all the guys I watched grow up,'' he said. "Scott Stallings played right behind me and a good friend Brett Longs caddied for him. Just good kids. I enjoy hanging out with them.
"[My wife] Sandy and I, we're the grandparents here. We had their kids messing around at the get-together [Thursday night]. I like coming back every once in a while. This is definitely not a permanent thing. It's just neat to show up every once in a while and stay in touch.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.