PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Jeff Schmid of Columbia, Mo., the 36-hole leader, and Charles Frost of Charlotte, N.C., are tied for the lead heading into the final round Sunday at the 37th National Car Rental PGA Assistant Championship presented by COBRA PUMA GOLF.
Frost, who trailed Schmid by five strokes entering the third round, eagled the par-5 16th hole en route to a 3-under-par 69 for a 208 total. Schmid, who owned a commanding four-stroke lead through 36 holes, bogeyed his final two holes on the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club and shot 74.
Two-time PGA Assistant Champion Frank Bensel of Purchase, N.Y., who shot a sparkling 66 in the third round under windy conditions, is third, one stroke back of Frost and Schmid.
Jim Troy of Elyria, Ohio, is fourth at 6-under-par 210.
The 72-hole National Championship concludes Sunday.
Schmid, PGA assistant professional at Perche Creek Golf Club in Columbia, Mo., parred his first nine holes before a bogey on the par-4 10th hole.
“I really only had a couple of chances on the front nine to make birdies and didn’t take advantage of those opportunities.” said Schmid, 45. “It was a tough day out there overall with the wind. I didn’t play all that bad, but it was a struggle figuring out where and how to hit the ball.”
After opening with rounds of 68 and 66 on the Wanamaker Course, Schmid wasn’t able to replicate that performance on Saturday.
“If you put the ball in the right spots on this golf course, it isn’t too hard,” said Schmid. “But if you put the ball in the wrong spots, you’ll struggle. And that’s what I did today.”
Frost, PGA assistant professional at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., had three birdies in addition to the eagle on the 16th hole.
“I had just come off a bad bogey at 15 and needed a boost,” said Frost. “I hit a nice 5-iron close and made the putt, which was huge.”
Frost is excited about the opportunity he will have to win a PGA Assistant Championship title. In his only other appearance in the Championship in 2012, he finished in a tie for third place.
“I feel good about my game and played really solid out there, all things considered,” said Frost, 37. “I’m where I want to be going into the final round. It’s always nice to be in contention and really, that’s the reason we practice so hard.”
Bensel, PGA assistant professional at Century Country Club in Purchase, N.Y., used six birdies in a bogey-free round to jump 16 spots in the standings.
“Yesterday I didn’t play that bad but the putts just didn’t fall,” said Bensel, who shot 74 in the second round. “But today they went in. If you don’t make bogeys out here and keep it in play, you can score.”
The solid round also gives Bensel, 45, a chance to become just the second player to win three PGA Assistant Championship titles. Kyle Flinton of Edmond, Okla., won the event in 2002, ’03 and ’05.
“If I have another round like I did today, you just never know,” said Bensel, smiling.
Ashley Grier of Hagerstown, Md., the first female to compete in the Championship since 2011, shot 76 in the third round and is tied for 32nd place heading into the final round.
The 126-player field for the National Championship featured three of the top four finishers from last year's Championship as well as 123 players who advanced through their PGA Section Championships.
At stake is a berth in the 47th PGA Professional National Championship, June 22-25, 2014, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at The Dunes Club and the Grande Dunes Resort Course.
The winner of the 2013 PGA Assistant Championship will collect $9,000 of a $100,000 purse.