HOOVER, Ala. -- Bob Gilder overcame back problems to take
the second-round lead in the Regions Charity Classic, shooting a
6-under 66 on Saturday that included long putts for eagle and
birdie on two of the final three holes.
"When I walked out of my room this morning, I was thinking
about withdrawing," said the 56-year-old Gilder, a nine-time
winner on the 50-and-over tour. "My back went out on me. I was
very skeptical about what was going to happen today."
But a morning visit to a chiropractor at the course fixed him
up, and the late surge gave him a two-stroke lead over first-round
leader Scott Hoch at 10-under 134.
Seve Ballesteros struggled again in his first Champions Tour
start, following his opening 78 with an 81. The five-time major
winner was last in the 78-player field at 15 over -- 25 strokes
Hoch, who held a three-stroke cushion after the first round,
lost his lead for the first time with a bogey on the 17th hole at
Ross Bridge after Gilder's 8-foot birdie putt. Hoch fell to two
strokes back with a 71 thanks to that two-hole, four-shot swing.
Gilder, who doesn't have a top-10 finish this season, made a
nearly 19-footer for eagle on No. 16 to move to 9 under, added the
birdie on No. 17 and then matched Hoch with a par on the final
"That was definitely a pick-me-up, that eagle," Gilder said.
"That was the first really good putt I've made in a while. I
missed a few birdie putts before that."
Gilder hasn't led after two rounds since winning the
Constellation Energy Classic in August 2005.
Hale Irwin (68) was three strokes back, and Denis Watson (66)
and Fuzzy Zoeller (70) followed at 65 under. Defending champion
Brad Bryant (69) topped a large group at 5 under that included
former Alabama star Jerry Pate (69).
Still nursing a three-stroke lead, Hoch missed a tap-in putt on
the ninth hole and another short one on the 10th for a pair of
bogeys. His opening 65 had given him the tour's largest first-round
lead of the year, but putting problems cost him.
"Nothing went in, and I missed a bunch of easy ones," Hoch
said. "The only bogeys I had were little putts I missed.
"Bob played a really good round of golf. He was hitting it
close all day."
Hoch is seeking his second Champions Tour victory two weeks
after winning the FedEx Kinko's Classic in Texas.
Gilder, meanwhile, got off to a rocky start with a bogey on the
first hole but it was just about the only trouble spot in his