LAKE ORION, Mich. — Lance Ten Broeck chooses to carry a bag rather than swing a club for a living to make more money.
If Ten Broeck can keep his lead at the U.S. Senior Open for two more days, though, he will more than double his highest annual income on a golf course.
The full-time caddie for Tim Herron and part-time player shot a 68 Friday, putting him at 6-under 134 and one-shot ahead of first-round leader Tom Kite.
Ten Broeck has a chance to make about $500,000 on Sunday after earning less than half that total in his best year as a caddie and when he made a career-best $146,568 in 1989 as a PGA Tour player.
“Caddying is a lot easier than playing,” he said. “That’s why you get paid more money to play.”
It won’t be easy for Ten Broeck to cash in at the Champion Tour’s fourth of five majors because he’s only a shot ahead of Kite, who has been sensational on his front nines at Indianwood.
Ten Broeck is also two strokes in front of a pack of six that includes Tom Lehman, Corey Pavin and Bernhard Langer.
“I figured I should be able to make the cut, but I never figured that I’d be in the last group on Saturday,” he said.
Ten Broeck has a 36-hole lead for the first time in his playing career. He had a share of the lead after two rounds at the PGA Tour’s Hall of Fame classic in 1982 and he finished tied for 12th.
The 56-year-old Ten Broeck finished tied for 71st at his only other Champions Tour event this year and estimates he plays about 25 rounds a year.
“I guess that means I’m well rested,” he joked.
Ten Broeck has been consistent thanks to a good tee-to-green game, shooting 34s on the front and back nines in the second round after carding 33s before and after the turn Thursday.
Kite, meanwhile, took advantage of what is regarded as the easier nine — the front — with a U.S. Senior Open nine-hole record 28 in the first round and stood up to the challenging back nine with a 31 Friday.
The combined 59 has offset a 4-over 39 on his second nine during the second round and a 37 after the turn Thursday.
He had a bogey at No. 4 on Friday, a day after making an eagle on the same hole, and a birdie at No. 17, a day after a double-bogey there trimmed his lead to a stroke.
Kite’s fourth bogey on his back nine at No. 9 dropped him into second place.
“It’s a sadistic game,” the 62-year-old Kite said. “It drives us all crazy. As Harvey Penick said, ‘It’s such an easy game to play, it’s just such a hard game to play well.’ In a championship like this, we’re trying to play very well, and they’ve given us a stern test on a golf course that is very tricky. The greens are very severe in a number of places.”
The USGA set up a relatively short course to be a test for the best 50-and-older golfers in the world by letting the rough grow thick and keeping the tight fairways dry and fast, making approach shots to quick, undulating greens difficult.
It was tough enough to make the cut at 4-over 144, sending home notable players such as Hale Irwin (145) and Kenny Perry (149).
Fred Couples (140) and Tom Watson (142) made it to the weekend, keeping fan favorites on a course that was filled Friday with people lining the ropes at the first significant golf tournament in southeast Michigan since Tiger Woods won the 2009 Buick Open.
While many of the fans were likely stunned to see Ten Broeck atop the leaderboard, Kite insisted he wasn’t shocked.
Kite has known Ten Broeck since he was a standout golfer at Texas in the mid-1970s. The Chicagoan went on to play in 349 PGA Tour events, finishing a career-best second at the 1991 Chattanooga Classic in one of his 10 top-10 finishes.
“I played a bunch of golf with Lance when he was in Austin,” Kite recalled. “He’s had so much talent for so many years and to a lot of people’s minds, didn’t take advantage of all the talent that he has.”
The 13-year veteran caddie, who has been on the bag for Jesper Parnevik and Robert Allenby in the past, said the only break he has had with his day job the past nine weeks allowed him to play at the Principal Charity Classic in June.
He has done both of his jobs at the same tournament in the past, playing and caddying in the 2009 Texas Open and 2008 Reno-Tahoe Open.
The youngest of eight kids in a golf-loving family has his 26-year-old son, Jonathan, on his bag this week.
Ten Broeck insisted dealing with nerves won’t be a challenge when he’s in the spotlight Saturday, but said his son will have to help him calm down when he gets angry.
“Usually when I get mad, he wants to go hide,” he said. “We haven’t worked on that yet.”
SCOTTISH OPEN: Phil Mickelson broke out of his slump with an 8-under 64 at the Scottish Open on Friday in Inverness, Scotland, leaving him five shots off the second-round lead shared by Alexander Noren and Francesco Molinari.
Noren used another round of 66 to move to 12 under alongside Molinari, who couldn’t match his blistering 62 on Thursday but managed a 70.
Mickelson charged up the leaderboard in an overcast but largely wind-free round at the Castle Stuart links. The three-time Masters champion broke par for the first time since May, with an eagle and six birdies putting him in a strong position for the weekend and improving his confidence before the British Open.
“We’ve had perfect weather and the golf course was there for the taking,” said Mickelson, who shot a 73 Thursday after cutting short his family holiday in Italy to play in the tournament. “It’s very helpful to see my game progress so quickly.
“I think the more I play, the better it gets. It’s not to the level that I would like, yet, but I get closer each day.”
His 64 matched the lowest round of the day — along with Ricardo Gonzalez and Matteo Manassero, who finished at 11 under. S.S.P. Chowrasia of India was another shot back, while top-ranked Luke Donald shot 68.
“It was very stress-free,” said defending champion Donald, who birdied the last two holes. “It was a nice finish and I’m only three back. You’ve got to stay patient and you’ve got to know that this course does offer some opportunities, especially in reasonably benign conditions.”
The cut was 4 under, leaving Colin Montgomerie, Gregory Havret, Rich Beem and American John Rollins heading home early.
Mickelson chipped in for eagle with his lob wedge from 60 yards at his first hole. Driving long and straight and making 16 greens in regulation, he gave himself plenty of birdie chances.
It marked a massive improvement for Mickelson, who missed the cut at The Greenbrier Classic last week, tied for 65th at the U.S. Open and withdrew after a first-round 79 at the Memorial Tournament in his last three events.
“To have a good, consistent 18 holes of golf was a nice breakthrough and it gives me a chance on the weekend to try to do the same,” he said.
The 89th-ranked Noren carried his 30th birthday celebrations over from Thursday by making six birdies and an eagle.
SIMPSON WITHDRAWS: U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson withdrew from the British Open on Friday as he awaits the birth of his second child.
It will be the second time in the last five years that the British Open is missing the U.S. Open champion. Tiger Woods did not play in 2008 because of season-ending knee surgery the day after he won the U.S. Open.
Simpson has said all along it was doubtful he would travel to Royal Lytham & St. Annes because his wife, Dowd, was expecting their second child. The British Open starts next Thursday.
Simpson was not immediately replaced in the field. Two spots are available this weekend, which would bring the field to 156 players. If both are not filled, Ben Crane would get in as the first alternate.