NAPLES, Fla. — Kirk Triplett jokes that fellow golfers say they think Bernhard Langer is human.
“But I don’t know,” Triplett said. “I don’t know.”
What Triplett does know is that he matched the defending ACE Group Classic champion for the lead at 10-under 134 after the second round Saturday.
Triplett, a graduate of Pullman High School, shot a 5-under 67 in windy conditions on TwinEagles’ Talon Course.
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Langer, also the 2011 winner and 2012 runner-up, followed his opening 64 with a 70. He won the season-opening event in Hawaii last month for his 19th Champions Tour title.
“He’s the ultimate of our Champions Tour sport, right?” Triplett asked. “He’s out there, he’s preparing, he’s working, he’s playing the same way that he played, he’s treating this tournament playing like it was the Masters, right, and not all guys do that.”
Triplett is on an impressive streak, going 64 holes without a bogey.
“I’ve hit some nice shots, I’ve hit some poor shots and gotten away with them, so that’s going to put you usually pretty close,” Triplett said.
Triplett has two Champions Tour victories after winning three times on the PGA Tour.
“He’s a very good ball-striker and great putter,” Langer said. “I was paired with him at Pebble Beach when he won I think last year, so he’s certainly a very good player and seasoned competitor.”
Rick Fehr of Seattle had a 77 and is tied for 62nd at 4-over 148.
McGirt gets hot in L.A.
LOS ANGELES — William McGirt opened with eight birdies in 13 holes on a day when everything felt easy and he wound up with a 6-under 65 in the Northern Trust Open on the PGA Tour. He has a two-shot lead going into the final round at Riviera.
At stake for the 34-year-old McGirt is his first trip to the Masters — he has played in only one major — and a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour.
McGirt was at 12-under 201, two shots clear of George McNeill and Charlie Beljan.
Jason Allred, a product of Ashland, Ore., is the feel-good story this week after Monday qualifying for his first PGA Tour event in more than three years. He had a 67 and joined Brian Harman (68) at 204.
Richard H. Lee, a former Husky, is tied for 59th at 1-over 214 after a 73. Michael Putnam of University Place is tied for 76th with a 5-over 218 after a 75.
• Hal Sutton had a mild heart attack after withdrawing Friday from the ACE Group Classic. “They put a stent in and I’m fine now,” Sutton said.
• Steve Stricker said he is going to the Match Play Championship now that his brother had a liver transplant.
• Andrew Putnam of Tacoma has a share of the lead at the rain-delayed Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship, a Web.com stop in Bogota. Putnam is 8 under after a 68-66 and is tied with Bill Lunde and Justin Thomas. Jeff Gove of Kenmore and Andres Gonzales of Olympia are tied for 13th at 5 under.
• Karrie Webb of Australia vaulted up the leaderboard with a final-round 68 to win the Women’s Australian Open in Melbourne. Webb started the day tied for 13th, but had six birdies for a 12-under 276 to win by a stroke over South Korea’s Chella Choi.