By John Kim, PGA.com Coordinating Producer
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- If anyone can relate to the thoughts going through Roger Chapman's head Saturday night -- and the career-changing significance of making a major championship your first win on the senior circuit -- Michael Allen can. And as much as he'd like to advise and encourage his friend's bid to protect a five-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, he's not quite ready to count himself out of the hunt, either.
"Well to have any chance at all, I'll probably have to get to 8 or 10 under," Allen said after his third round, "and that's only if he (Chapman) ... let's just say, 'doesn't play well.'"
Allen, who by his own admission didn't have a very good ball-striking round but still scored a 3-under 68, sits at 4 under overall and sits in seventh place.
"I wasn't real sharp, but I kept away from big mistakes," Allen stated. "I kind of shot a decent score, but Roger Chapman is running away with it, so it'd be a good tournament without him around," he laughed.
Allen also drew laughs when asked his response when he first saw Chapman's 64 being posted.
"He's tying my course record, dang it!" he exclaimed with a big smile. Allen set the Harbor Shores course record of a 7-under 64 on Friday only to see it tied today by Chapman.
"He's obviously playing great golf," Allen noted. "He's controlling the situation."
But Allen isn't conceding anything. Not yet.
"I think tonight will be kind of a hard night for him," said Allen. "I know for me, when I was leading that tournament in Tampa, it was hard to have a five-shot lead. I haven't had too many leads on Sunday, [but] luckily I was hanging out with Fuzzy [Zoeller] that night and he told me, 'just play like you're broke.' It kind of helped. It was nice to get advice from someone who's been there.
"You have a big lead, like, it's kind of all on you," Allen explained. "If you play well, the tournament's over. If you don't, you let everybody in. So it's all up to him."
If Chapman were to go wire-to-wire and win, he can only hope to mirror what Allen did once he surprisingly won the 2009 Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club outside of Cleveland, Ohio. Allen has used his breakthrough major championship win to catapult himself to the top of the senior circuit.
His confidence and goals soared after the signature victory and he is currently the top player on the Champions Tour with two wins, a second-place finish and two third-place finishes in only eight starts this year. (Not bad for a man who never had a win playing 20 years of PGA Tour events.)
"He's been a good player for a long time," Allen said of the leader. "He was bound to have a week like this eventually."
And despite holding out hope that he could sneak out a win, the past champion acknowledged that he no longer solely determined that fate.
"Obviously, it's all up to him (Chapman)," Allen said, "whether he plays well tomorrow or not."
And would there be any other way for the Champions Tour's most dominant player to track down the leader on the final day?
"Well, I could take him out with us tonight, invite him over to the house for a few..." he laughed again. "Let's see if he can play that way."