HOOVER, Ala., May 3 (UPI) -- Winless in seven starts this year, Hale Irwin followed an opening-round 65 with a 5-under-par 67 Saturday and had a one-stroke lead over Bruce Fleisher and Tom Jenkins after the second round of the Bruno's Memorial Classic.
The winningest player in Champions Tour history with 36 titles, Irwin has posted 11 straight rounds under par at the Greystone Golf and Country Club. In 23 rounds here, he is a cumulative 73-under with a 68.8 scoring average. Last year, he tied the course record with a second-round 63.
On Saturday, Irwin birdied three of the first five holes to start his second straight bogey-free round.
"I'm not unhappy with the score, but when you get off to a good start and then make only two more birdies, you're a little disappointed," said Irwin, who is 12-under 132 for the tournament.
His other birdies came at the 13th and 16th holes, where he left a 7-iron 15 feet from the cup.
"That last one kept me in the lead," Irwin said. "I don't mind being in the lead. Sometimes I think it makes me concentrate more."
Irwin is 24 for 35 in his Champions Tour career when leading or sharing the lead heading into the final round. Earlier this year, however, he led after 36 holes at the Verizon Classic but lost to Fleisher by a stroke.
Fleisher, who battled flu-like symptoms and almost withdrew Friday, matched Irwin with a 67, totaling six birdies and a bogey to remain a stroke behind.
"Hale's the one to beat out here," Fleisher said. "But it's nice to be in the last group with him. Plus, I felt much better today than I did yesterday and I hope to feel even better tomorrow."
Jenkins fired a 66 to reach 11-under. He had seven birdies and a bogey. Bob Gilder carded a 67 and is alone in fourth place at 135.
Making just his second Champions Tour start this year, 67-year-old Bob Charles shot a bogey-free 65 to move to 8-under. It was his best round since shooting a 64 at the age 65 in the stroke-play portion of the 2001 Match Play Championship.
"When you get to my age, your prime goal is to shoot your age or better," Charles said. "When you start off with three straight birdies, you get the feeling it's going to be a good day."