PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Defending champion Fred Couples birdied the final three holes in sweltering conditions Friday for a 7-under 63 and the second-round lead in the Senior Players Championship.
Couples, the winner last year at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., reached 11 under at Fox Chapel on a day when the temperature reached 96 degrees with a heat index of 105. He won the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic in March for his seventh victory on the 50-and-over tour.
Couples is thriving in the heat, in part because it's better for his chronically bad back. He has complained about stiffness all week, saying his back is sore after receiving his regular anti-inflammatory injections two weeks ago. The 1992 Masters champion has one bogey through two rounds, has birdied the two par-5 holes both days and has hit 36 of 38 greens.
Joe Daley was a stroke back after a 64.
Tom Lehman, the Regions Tradition winner in his last start, was third at 7 under after a 66. Mark Calcavecchia, coming off a victory Sunday in the Montreal Championship, was 6 under along with Bill Glasson, Michael Allen and Jay Don Blake. Calcavecchia and Blake shot 65, Glasson had a 67, and Allen a 68.
Olin Browne had a tournament-record 62 to reach 5 under. He opened with a 73.
First-round leader Bruce Vaughan was 2 under. He followed a 64 with a 74 that included seven bogeys. Fred Funk, second after the first round, was 3 under after a 72.
Top Watson also was 3 under after a 67. He's returning from a wrist injury that sidelined him since April.
Greg Norman was 1 over after a 74. He's playing his first Champions Tour event since 2009
The tournament is the third of five Champions Tour majors.