Senior PGA Championship: Saturday notebook
By The PGA of America
ST. LOUIS -- In search of his first title in the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, Kenny Perry takes a two-stroke lead over two-time Senior PGA Champion Jay Haas into the final round tomorrow. Here are some pertinent statistics after three rounds of play in the most historic and prestigious event in senior golf:
BY THE NUMBERS:
1: Number of birdies today at the par-3 sixth, ranked as the toughest hole today (Chien-Soon Lu made the only birdie)
2: Number of players who did not make a bogey today (Bernhard Langer and Joe Ozaki)
4: Number of bogeys made today by Championship leader Kenny Perry (he had made only one bogey through the first two rounds)
8: Number of strokes under par that Kenny Perry has played the par 5s at Bellerive
13: Number of birdies made by Kenny Perry through three rounds
22: Strokes under par for Kenny Perry in his last six Senior PGA Championship rounds (Rounds 2-4 last year and 1-3 this year)
29: Number of birdies today at the par-5 fourth, ranked as the easiest hole today (there were also two eagles there)
66: Still the low 18-hole score in the Championship (Roger Chapman today, Russ Cochran and Kenny Perry in Round 2, Jay Haas in Round 1)
PAR NOT IN THE PICTURE: Consistent with the swings of fate of many players this week, Kenny Perry was a model of inconsistency from holes 4 through 9 today at Bellerive Country Club. Instead of gaining momentum after chipping in for eagle at the par-5 fourth hole, Perry bogeyed the next two holes, only to bounce back with consecutive birdies.
Perry completed the front nine with a bogey on No. 9, for a 2-under-par 34.
THE ONLY ONE: Perry is the only player to shoot in the 60s for all three rounds here at Bellerive (69-66-68).
LOVING THE PAR 5s: Kenny Perry and Jay Haas both played the par 5s today in 3 under par. Perry did so with an eagle and a birdie, while Haas birdied all three of the par 5s.
WEATHER DELAY TODAY: Play was suspended for 2 hours and 12 minutes today because of lightning, which was followed by rains, at times heavy. Play was suspended at 12:43 p.m., just five minutes before the final pairing of Russ Cochran and Kenny Perry was scheduled to tee off. Play resumed at 2:55 p.m. and was completed at 6:36 p.m.
FROM ROCKY START TO CLOSING IN: At the start of this Championship on Thursday, Rod Spittle of Canada hardly gave any indication that he would be only four strokes out of the lead with one round to play. Spittle was 3-over par after his first three holes of the Championship, but he made six birdies and shot 2-under par 69 on Thursday.
Six more birdies today, which led to a 4-under-par 67, and Spittle is at 6-under-par 207. He is alone in fourth place.
CHAPMAN MAKES HIS MOVE: Defending Senior PGA Champion Roger Chapman matched the low score of the Championship this morning and moved into red figures for the first time. Chapman, who started play at 4 over par, birdied four straight holes (No. 2-5) and concluded with a 30-footer for birdie at the last, for a 5-under-par 66. With nine birdies today, Chapman is now at 1-under-par 212 for the Championship.
Chapman ended the day tied for 21st, as he leaped 47 spots on the leaderboard.
“I think that the first two rounds you're a bit under pressure to put in a good defense and probably thinking about just making the cut was the wrong attitude,” Chapman said today. “The last few holes yesterday afternoon I sort of messed up and all of a sudden you're on the cut line and you're thinking, well, don't defend and miss the cut. But now I made the cut, the pressure's off a bit, just go out and play and that's what I did.”
LINGERING LANGER: Bernhard Langer has played his last 37 holes in 9 under par and without a bogey. In carding his second straight 67 today, Langer continued his remarkable comeback from a surprising 79 on the opening round of the Championship. In that round, Langer birdied his final hole (No. 9), and he has made four birdies in each of his last two rounds.
Langer jumped 39 spots today and is tied for 29th place at even-par 213.
TWO OF A KIND, THREE TIMES OVER: Three sets of players have shot identical scores over each of the first three rounds:
• Michael Allen and Mike Hulbert (73-70-71–214)
• Jerry Pate and Neal Lancaster (73-71-71–215)
• Morris Hatalsky and Boonchu Ruangkit (75-70-71–216)
MR. CONSISTENT: Peter Fowler must like the number 72 this week. That’s the score he’s posted every round at Bellerive.
TWO EAGLES FLEW AT NO. 4: Kenny Perry’s chip-in for eagle at the par-5 fourth was the second and final eagle made on the hole today. Neal Lancaster eagled No. 4 earlier in the round. There were no other eagles recorded in the third round.
SPEED DEMONS: With no one in front of them, Mike Goodes and Barry Lane made great time together this morning. The first group off the first tee, at 6:48 a.m., Goodes and Lane completed play in 3 hours and 43 minutes, finishing at 10:31 a.m.
The pace sure was good for Goodes, who shot 4-under-par 32 on the front nine and finished the round at 2-under-par 69. He is at 2 over par through 54 holes. Lane shot 1-over-par 72 today and is 5 over par for the Championship.
LOCAL FLAVOR: Jay Haas, born in St. Louis and raised in Belleville, Ill., is easily the hometown leader after three rounds.
Without just one bogey on his card today, Haas shot 4-under par 67 and is only two shots out of the lead as he pursues his third Senior PGA Championship title. PGA Club Professional Bob Gaus, a St. Louis native, had four bogeys and three birdies today for a 1-over-par 72. He is 4 over par for the Championship, and tied for 63rd. Jay Delsing, another native of St. Louis, shot 73 today and is tied for 70th.
MIELKE, SKINNER PACE FIVE PGA CLUB PROFESSIONALS: PGA Club Professionals Mark Mielke and Sonny Skinner each shot even-par 71 today and are tied for 15th place at 2-under-par 211. Jeff Coston, who began the round tied with Mielke and Skinner, shot 72 and is tied for 21st.
Don Berry (1 over par for the Championship, tied for 36th) and St. Louis native Bob Gaus (4 over par for the Championship, tied for 63rd) are the two other PGA Club Professionals who qualified for play this weekend.
PGA CHAMPIONS PAIRED IN THIRD ROUND: Hal Sutton, who won the PGA Championship in 1983, and 1987 PGA Champion Jeff Sluman, played together today at Bellerive.
After opening with 75, then shooting 71 yesterday, Sluman continued to improve today, and his 70 left him at 3 over par for the Championship. Sutton struggled to 75 today and is 8 over par with one round left.
HAAS LEADS SIX SENIOR PGA CHAMPIONS: Only two shots out of the lead after three rounds, Jay Haas is well ahead of the group of six Senior PGA Champions who made the 36-hole cut at Bellerive.
The other Senior PGA Champions:
Defending Champion Roger Chapman and Tom Watson (1-under-par 212 for the Championship)
Michael Allen (1-over-par 214 for the Championship)
Hale Irwin (3-over-par 216 for the Championship)
John Jacobs (7-over par 220 for the Championship)
12 MAJOR CHAMPIONS PLAYING THIS WEEKEND: A dozen golfers who earned major championships before they joined the Champions Tour, made the 36-hole cut here at Bellerive – Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Mark O’Meara, Jerry Pate, Jeff Sluman, Hal Sutton, Bob Tway, Lanny Wadkins, Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam. Collectively, they have won 24 major championships (Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship), with Watson topping the list, with eight major titles.
KITCHENAID KORNER: If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by the KitchenAid Fairway Club (adjacent to No. 10 fairway) on Sunday to check out the hub of off-course activity, including chef and product demonstrations, a golf simulator and more.
The KitchenAid brand looks forward to welcoming everyone next year when the 75th Senior PGA Championship is held at Harbor Shores in our hometown of Benton Harbor, Mich.