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Pate, Funk tied at 8 under atop Champion Tour leaderboard

CARY, North Carolina -- Steve Pate and Fred Funk shot 3-under 69 on Saturday to share the second-round lead at 8 under in the Champions Tour's SAS Championship.

Funk, the Insperity Championship winner in May for his seventh victory on the 50-and-over tour, birdied four of the last seven holes. He's eighth in the Schwab Cup standings, 1,130 points behind leader Tom Lehman.

“Well, it wasn't a very easy round, the first part,” Funk said. “I was really struggling with my whole game and managed to shoot 1 over on the front.

“I kept working on my swing, trying to figure something out. And I really never could figure anything out, and I tried a couple different swing keys.”

After a poor approach shot on 13, Funk said, he changed shot thoughts again.

“And all of a sudden, I started hitting it really close and hitting it really solid,” he said. “I hit it really good on — hit some irons really good.”

Pate is winless on the Champions Tour after winning six times on the PGA Tour. After an admittedly “ugly” second round, Pate said he felt better about Saturday's 69 than Friday's 67.

“(Friday) was really easy. I hit everything on line,” Pate said. “(Saturday), I hit nothing on line, there was nothing easy about it, but I only made one bogey, so that was good.

“I mean, that could have easily gone sideways pretty quickly, and it didn't, so that was nice.”

Jay Don Blake and Andrew Magee were a stroke behind the leaders. They shot 70.

Sixty-five-year-old Larry Nelson had a 66 to match Mark McNulty, Mark O'Meara and Mark Wiebe at 6 under. McNulty had a 68, and O'Meara and Wiebe shot 69.

“It's just kind of a personal thing, so I guess that's probably a good thing to focus on,” Nelson said about trying to shoot his age. “The tournament is secondary at that point. Now (Sunday), the tournament might be a little more better or a little bit more of a priority ... than it was today.”

First-round leader Russ Cochran followed his opening 66 with a 73 to finish at 5 under.

Sunday is expected to be rainy and colder, with a high in the 50s.

“I had three or four balls (Saturday) that had a significant amount of mud, and it definitely affected the shots,” Funk said. “You've just got to prepare for it.”

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Steve Pate, co-leader at 8-under par after the second round of the SAS PGA Champions Tour golf tournament, approaches the 18th green at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, North Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 6. (AP)

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