THIRD ROUND NOTES:
Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship
Firestone Country Club, Akron, Ohio
Saturday, July 13, 2019
Course Setup: Par 70 / 7,080 yards (R3 average: 73.026, Cumulative: 72.924)
Weather: Mostly sunny, high in the upper 80s. Wind from the WSW at 10-15 mph.
TOP SCORES AFTER ROUND 3:
1. Scott Parel -5 66-72-67—205
2. Retief Goosen -4 69-62-75—206
T3. Steve Stricker -3 64-70-73—207
T3. Kent Jones -3 70-67-70—207
T3. Brandt Jobe -3 69-65-73—207
Sunday TV Coverage: Golf Channel 3-6 p.m. ET
Scott Parel 66-72-67—205 (-5)
Scott Parel started Saturday’s third round in a tie for seventh (seven shots back of overnight leader Retief Goosen) before birdieing five of his last 10 holes for a 3-under 67 to reach 5-under for the week, one clear of Goosen entering Sunday’s final round.
This is the second time in his PGA TOUR Champions career that Parel has held at least a share of the lead entering a final round. He was the sole leader entering Sunday’s final round of last month’s Principal Charity Classic before losing to Kevin Sutherland in a playoff.
The playoff loss in Iowa marked the second time this season that Parel lost to Sutherland in a playoff, including the Rapiscan Systems Classic, where the duo’s seven-hole playoff spilled over into Monday.
Parel entered the week at No. 9 in the Charles Schwab Cup standings thanks to the two runner-up finishes and four additional top-10 efforts. The 54-year old had a breakout season in 2018, winning the Boeing Classic and Invesco QQQ Championship to finish third in the final Schwab Cup standings. Parel was T5 entering the final round of the Boeing Classic and T2 for the final round of the Invesco QQQ Championship.
Parel went to PGA TOUR Champions Q-School in 2014 and 2015 but failed to earn status. In 2016, he Monday qualified eight times, advanced to the second event of the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs and earned his card by winning Q-School that December. He has earned in excess of $4 million over his last four years on Tour.
Parel attended the University of Georgia, but did not play college golf, electing instead to focus on his studies in computer science. He worked as a computer programmer and database administrator for 10 years following college and did not turn pro until 1996 (age 31).
Retief Goosen, 69-62-75—206 (-4)
This marks the third time this year Goosen has entered the final round of a senior major inside the top five. He was in second place through 54 holes of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship before finishing solo-fourth, then was T5 through three rounds of the U.S. Senior Open before finishing T14.
On Sunday, Goosen will be 50 years, five months and 11 days old. Should he win tomorrow, he will be the youngest winner on PGA TOUR Champions since Paul Goydos (50 years, 3 months, 1 day) at the 2014 Pacific Links Championship.
The youngest winner on Tour in 2019 is Ken Tanigawa (51 years, 5 months) at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. PGA TOUR Champions has had at least one 50-year-old winner each year since the start of the 1983 season.
The South African, who turned 50 on February 3 of this year, entered the week at No. 16 in the Charles Schwab Cup standings with three top-10 finishes to his name, including a playoff loss to Jerry Kelly at the American Family Insurance Championship (Stricker was the third member of the playoff).
Goosen won seven times during his Hall of Fame PGA TOUR career, including the 2004 TOUR Championship and U.S. Open titles in 2001 and 2004.
Steve Stricker, 64-70-73—207 (-3)
First-round leader Steve Stricker entered Saturday in a tie for second, just three back of Goosen, but recorded just one birdie against four bogeys for a third-round 73. The birdie came late in the round at the par-5 16th, ending a streak of 26 holes played without a birdie dating back to the front nine during Friday’s second round.
The 3-over 73 marked the second-highest round of Stricker’s PGA TOUR Champions career, to par. He opened the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship with a 6-over 76 in May.
Winner of the Regions Tradition and U.S. Senior Open, Stricker is looking to become the fourth player to win three majors in one season on PGA TOUR Champions (Gary Player/1988, Jack Nicklaus/1991, Bernhard Langer/2017).
Stricker had four top-10s in nine starts at Firestone on the PGA TOUR. He had a 69.69 scoring average and 19 of his 36 rounds were in the 60s (best: 64, R4/2012 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational).
Brandt Jobe, 69-65-73—207 (-3)
Like Stricker, Jobe entered the third round in a tie for second, three back of Goosen, who was his playing partner. The former UCLA golfer failed to record a single birdie all day, settling for three bogeys and a 3-over 73.
This week marks Jobe’s 17th career start in a senior major championship. In his prior 16 starts, he has eight top-10 finishes, including top-five efforts in each of the last three Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championships. Jobe finished T2 at the event’s 2017 edition, finishing one shot shy of former UCLA teammate Scott McCarron after bogeying the 71st hole.
During his PGA TOUR career, Jobe recorded four second-place finishes, including a runner-up to Goosen at The International in 2007 and a runner-up to Stricker at the 2011 Memorial Tournament.
Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship Notes
Goosen and Stricker are looking to become the 10th player in tournament history to win in their debut. The other nine are: Miller Barber (1983), Chi Chi Rodriguez (1986), Jack Nicklaus (1990), Jim Albus (1991), Dave Stockton (1992), Craig Stadler (2003), Mark James (2004), Peter Jacobsen (2005) and Joe Daley (2012).
Four players inside the top 10 are looking to earn their first PGA TOUR Champions title this week in Akron (Goosen, Kent Jones, Tim Petrovic, Ken Duke). Seven players recorded their first senior title at this event: Chi Chi Rodriguez (1986), Jim Albus (1991), Dave Stockton (1992), Stewart Ginn (2002), Craig Stadler (2003), Mark James (2004) and Joe Daley (2012). David Toms (2018 U.S. Senior Open) was the last player to earn his first Tour title at a major.
From 2015-2018, 25 different players earned their inaugural wins on PGA TOUR Champions. Thus far in 2019, every single event has been won by a player with a prior win on Tour. In the history of PGA TOUR Champions, there has never been a season without at least one first-time winner.
Third-Round Lead Notes:
This season, a third-round leader/co-leader in a 72-hole event has won two out of three tournaments on PGA TOUR Champions, with Steve Stricker succeeding in both instances as the overnight leader at the Regions Tradition and U.S. Senior Open. In 54-hole events, the 36-hole leader has won seven of 12 events entering the final round.
A 54-hole leader/co-leader has won this tournament 21 times in 36 years, including six of the last nine years: Mark O’Meara (2010), Fred Couples (2011), Joe Daley (2012) and Bernhard Langer (2014, 2015, 2016).
The largest final-round come-from-behind victory in Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS history is six shots, recorded by Raymond Floyd (2000, TPC Michigan) and Scott McCarron (2017, Caves Valley Golf Club). There are currently 14 players within six shots of Parel’s lead.
From 1999 through 2018, the third-round leader/co-leader at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational won nine times, with Justin Thomas (2018) and Tiger Woods (2013) being the last two to do so.
Starting with the 2016 season, the 54-hole leader/co-leader has won just seven of the last 18 senior majors:
– Steve Stricker, 2019 U.S. Senior Open
– Steve Stricker, 2019 Regions Tradition
– Miguel Angel Jimenez, 2018 Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex
– Miguel Angel Jimenez, 2018 Regions Tradition
– Bernhard Langer, 2017 Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex
– Rocco Mediate, 2016 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship
– Bernhard Langer, 2016 Regions Tradition
Defending champion Vijay Singh is T8 after rounds of 70-70-70—210 (even) and joins Kent Jones as the only players in the field to record all three rounds at par or better. Singh is looking to become the first player since Scott McCarron at the 2018 Shaw Charity Classic to successfully defend a title on PGA TOUR Champions.
Jay Haas enters the final round in solo-seventh, just four back of Parel at 1-under 209. The 65-year-old would become the oldest winner in PGA TOUR Champions history should he win on Sunday. In addition, his son Bill is currently T3 at the PGA TOUR’s John Deere Classic. Should the duo pull off matching wins tomorrow, they’d become the second father/son combo in TOUR history to win on the same day (David Duval, 1999 PLAYERS Championship; Bob Duval, 1999 Emerald Coast Classic).
Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez, who won two senior majors in 2018, trailed by nine shots after a first-round 73, 12 shots after a second-round 70, and will enter Sunday’s final round just six shots back thanks to a 2-under 68.
Michael Bradley was T69 after a first-round 77 which featured eight bogeys, but has since posted rounds of 68-67 to move to T15 entering Sunday’s final round. His Saturday 67 included nine birdies, four pars, four bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-4 sixth. He matched Parel for the low round of the day.
– notes courtesy of PGA TOUR Media