Sluman settled for a 1-under 71 at the Muirfield Village Golf Club that gave him a 36-hole total of 8-under 136. That was good for a one-shot advantage over Tiger Woods, Lucas Glover, Nick O'Hern, Harrison Frazar and Jonathan Kaye.
Woods shot a 68 and began a new streak of cuts made. He missed the cut last month at the Byron Nelson Championship, ending his record streak of 142 tournaments in which he played on the weekend.
Nicklaus has said that except for exhibition events, he will play his final golf tournament next month at the British Open. He has said, however, that he reserves the right to play in this event - which he has hosted for 30 years.
He shot a 77 Friday for a 36-hole total of 152 - six shots over the cut figure.