PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida – Jason Caron converted nine birdies on the Ryder Course during the first round. Combine that with four bogeys and he found himself trailing by two.
The Oyster Bay, New York, resident Caron redeemed himself on Wednesday by firing a bogey-free, 8-under 64 to take sole possession of first place.
“I’ve been controlling my wedges really well and I’m making putts,” said Caron, who has played in over 60 PGA Tour events in his career. “If I had to give my short-game area a grade, it’s almost an ‘A.’ It has been really sharp.”
MORE: Check out the third round leaderboard from the Stroke Play Championship
Tomorrow’s final round will be played on the Wanamaker Course, where Caron shot a career-best 29 on the Wanamaker’s back nine during the second round. Caron’s mentality won’t necessarily be to recapture the magic he displayed, but he won’t be content with pars in the final round, either.
“There’s a lot of birdies being made,” said Caron, who is the PGA Head Professional at River Mill Club. “You have to forget about how many strokes under par you are and keep trying to make more birdies.”
Rod Perry, who has been fighting a cold this week, finds himself in second place heading into the final round. The Port Orange, Florida resident has battled to 14-under after posting a 4-under 68 on Wednesday.
“I haven’t been feeling too hot,” said Perry. “I’m low on energy and coughing a lot, but I’ve been able to put some solid rounds together. I birdied the last two holes today to put up a good number.”
Perry admitted closing the gap on the four-stroke deficit will be challenging, singing the praises of his playing partner Caron.
“I played with Jason today and he doesn’t have a weakness,” said the 43-year-old. “He drives it well, he hits his irons nice, he chips it and putts it really well, and he’s got a lot of experience. Knowing that, it’s going to take something really special.
“I’m probably going to have to do what Jason did today.”
36-hole leader Rob Labritz (Pound Ridge, New York) shot a 2-under 70 and finds himself in a tie for third with Ben Polland of Manhasset, New York, and Brett Melton of Washington, Indiana. They are each 13-under, trailing Caron by five. Jeff Sorenson of Blaine, Minnesota, sits alone in sixth at 12-under.
The winner of the Stroke Play Championship receives $3,000.
The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfAdvisor.com and PrimeSport.
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