Vaughan overcomes pain barrier to edge into halfway lead

Bruce Vaughan shot a level-par 71 to take the halfway lead in the Senior British Open and then headed straight for physiotherapy on his left knee. The American has had three partial knee replacements in six operations over the past two years. With the chance of a first ever senior major in his sights, he was taking no chances.

"It is my left knee which is why, when it hurts a lot, I don't tend to play so well," he said. "But when I went out today I looked at the scores and I thought that level par would be a pretty good number, so I am pretty pleased with that."

Vaughan has a three-under 139 to lead by one stroke over John Cook of the United States (71). Bernhard Langer (71), Eduardo Romero (73) and Tom Watson (71) are one stroke further back. Vaughan, a former firefighter who was persuaded to take up golf aged 20 because his job gave him so much spare time, made two bogeys but each time rebounded with a birdie.

Stronger than expected winds led to some high scoring. Greg Norman, who was third in last weekend's Open Championship, shot a 72, including an eagle at the 16th, to be eight strokes off the pace.

A two-time Masters champion, Langer is one of the favourites having won two titles on his first season in the Seniors. The German, who made a 30-foot birdie putt at the ninth and pitched to within two feet for another at the 15th, said he is playing as well as when he was on the regular tour.

"Sometime even more," Langer said. "I'm not out there to prove anything, just trying to enjoy my game. I know my time is limited, I have only a few more years as a golfer and I'm really having a lot of fun on the Champions Tour."

Romero bogeyed two of the first four holes to lose his share of the lead while Watson made his first three bogeys of the championship, but said he was lucky to only bogey the par-4 11th where he hit his tee shot into a bush for an unplayable lie.