The field's stroke average on Saturday was 73.407 Saturday, more than two strokes less than the average of either of the first two rounds. (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
Notebook: Scores move much lower on Moving Day at Colorado Golf Club
The scoring difference between Saturday and the first two days was remarkable. Plus, David Frost repeats an amazing accomplishment, Brad Bryant bounces back in a big way, Chip Beck is Mr. Consistency, and more.
By The PGA of America Communications Staff
PARKER, Colo. – There are 16 players under par through three rounds of the Senior PGA Championship, up from 13 players who were under par after the second round. Three of the five hardest holes Saturday were par 3s, with No. 17 leading the way with a stroke average of 3.359.
Hole No. 11 ranked as the fourth-toughest and the sixth hole was the fifth-hardest. There were only three birdies on the sixth hole all day. The stroke average for the field was 73.407 Saturday, the lowest for any round of the Championship. That average was more than two strokes less than the average of either of the first two rounds.
A CRAZY GAME: Brad Bryant, runner-up to Jay Haas in the 2006 Senior PGA Championship, rebounded from an 80 on Friday by shooting 5-under-par 67.
Bryant's scores for the three rounds: 68-80-67. He is 1 under par for the Championship and five strokes back of co-leaders Jay Don Blake and Tom Lehman.
"I played today just like I played the first day," Bryant said. "Yesterday, I just happened to make two 6s and a 7. I didn't play real badly all day long, I just had four just really horrible holes and that's kind of keeping me out of the lead of the tournament right now."
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: It was deja vu all over again for David Frost, who set the new course record at Colorado Golf Club with a 65, one day after shooting 77. Flash back to the 2005 British Open at the Old Course St. Andrews, where Frost opened with 77, then (you guessed it) shot 65 in the second round. That was the low score for the week.
Frost’s 65 was the only bogey-free round of the day, and is the lowest single-round score in the Senior PGA Championship since Des Smyth of Ireland (third round) and Hale Irwin (final round) each shot 65 in the 2003 Senior PGA Championship at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa.
MR. CONSISTENT: Chip Beck shot 71 each of the first three rounds.
DOUBLING UP ON EAGLES: Bob Gilder eagled the par-5 16th hole Saturday to go with the eagle he made at the par-5 seventh hole in the opening round. Gilder's was one of seven eagles Saturday, bringing to 19 the number of eagles made in the Championship.
PUTTING MACHINE: Mark O'Meara had nine one-putts, sunk two birdie putts from off the green at Nos. 10 and 17, and finished with 24 putts Saturday en route to a third-round 67 at the Senior PGA Championship, and a share of third place. His 82 total putts ties O'Meara with Ben Crenshaw, the co-course designer, for second place through three rounds in putting. Mike Reid, the 2005 Senior PGA Champion, leads that category.
CASH AND PRIZES: Sunday’s winner will earn a check for $360,000 as well as 720 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race. Double points are awarded in each of the Champions Tour’s five major championships. Fred Couples currently leads the race with 1,015 points followed by Bernhard Langer (818), Dan Forsman (466), Nick Price (461) and Tom Watson (437).
LONG TIME GONE: Jay Don Blake is bidding for his first victory since claiming the 1991 Shearson Lehman Brothers Open at Torrey Pines. This is his 396th start since that victory on all three tours (367 PGA Tour and 14 each on the Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour). As one of two co-leaders along with Tom Lehman, he is in the lead for the first time since holding sole possession of the lead at the 1997 Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines. A final-round 77 there left him tied for 11th.
THE COMEBACK KIDS: Six of the last eight winners of the Senior PGA Championship have come from behind on the final day. The exceptions came in 2004, when Hale Irwin won, and last year, when Michael Allen held off Larry Mize by two strokes.
BIG BREAKTHROUGHS: A number of current and former Champions Tour players won their first Champions Tour titles at the Senior PGA Championship. Among those earning that distinction were Arnold Palmer (1980), Tom Wargo (1993), Doug Tewell (2000), Fuzzy Zoeller (2002), Mike Reid (2005), Denis Watson (2007) and Michael Allen (2009).
TWO FOR FORSMAN?: Can Dan Forsman make it two straight wins? A 3-under-par 69 on Saturday leaves Forsman three behind after 54 holes. He won the Champions Tour’s previous start at the Regions Charity Classic near Birmingham.
Dave Senko of the PGA Tour staff contributed to this report.