AVONDALE, La. – After taking advantage of benign conditions early Saturday morning, Kevin Stadler downplayed his chances of climbing back into contention at the Zurich Classic, predicting he would end the day more than five shots out of the lead.
But gusty afternoon wind resulted in higher scores and brought Stadler and several others within striking distance at TPC Louisiana.
Lucas Glover survived those blustery conditions and birdied the 18th hole to increase his lead to two strokes to remain in position for his first victory in two years, though his wife is expecting the couple’s daughter at any time and he said he would immediately leave if he received a call that she’s going into labor.
The 2009 U.S. Open winner shot a 2-under 70 to reach 14 under.
“Some windier conditions than expected,” said Glover, who hasn’t three-putted in 54 holes. “But started up one, now I’m up two, so can’t be too upset. The good stuff is still there.”
Kyle Stanley, Jimmy Walker, Billy Horschel and D.A. Points were tied for second. Stanley had a 65, Walker and Horschel shot 66, and Points had a 70.
“Not much going on out there, not a lot of wind,” said Stanley, who teed off more than 2 hours before the leaders when conditions were still calm. “So you could pretty much take dead aim and hit a lot of pins.”
Stadler tied Stanley for low round of the day with a 65 and was three strokes back at 11 under.
Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old Chinese amateur, shot a 77 to drop to 2 over – last among the 71 players who made the cut. He tied for 58th two weeks ago in the Masters after becoming the youngest player to make the cut at Augusta National, and will play in a U.S. Open qualifier in two weeks in Dallas.
“I didn’t do pretty good,” Tianlang said. “It was not a very good round.”
The players will be grouped in threesomes and will tee off early because of expected stormy weather today. The 54-hole leader has won the tournament the last four years.
Ciganda takes 2-stroke lead into LPGA final round: Carlota Ciganda shot a 5-under 66 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over the world’s No. 1 player and an LPGA Tour rookie into the final round of the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout.
Ciganda had only one bogey in the third round. Even after driving left into a concrete drainage ditch on No. 12, the Spaniard hit the half-submerged ball out of the water to about 10 feet and made the birdie putt. She was at 11-under 202 after her second 66 of the week.
Top-ranked Inbee Park finished her 67 with consecutive birdies. Caroline Masson, the leader after each of the first two rounds, recovered from an opening double bogey for a 69.
Chapman, Blake lead Champion’s better-ball event: Roger Chapman and Jay Don Blake shot an 11-under-par 61 in the second round of the Champion’s Tour better-ball tournament to take a one shot lead.
Chapman and Blake are 17-under for the tournament.
Five teams, including 18-hole leaders Brad Faxon and Jeff Sluman, are a shot back. Eighteen more twosomes are within five shots of the lead. Peter Jacobsen and D.A. Weibring are three shots off the lead.
Picking up on the positive vibes of Jacobsen, who birdied six of his first eight holes, Chapman and Blake had a huge day.
“We just kept hanging in there and were able to build off the momentum of Jacobsen,” Blake said.
Blake and Chapman combined for a bogey-free round, with Chapman taking a cue from Jacobsen and leading a birdie binge on the second nine. He made birdie putts on six straight holes to start the second nine and Blake holed out from a greenside bunker for a birdie on No. 8, their 17th hole of the day after starting the round on No. 10.
Blake and Chapman will attempt to win the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf in their first year playing together. Blake made his first Legends appearance last year, teaming with Fred Funk and finishing in a tie for 25th. Chapman, meanwhile, is making his Legends debut, coming off a breakout 2012 season in which he won two senior majors.
Several big names will give chase. Champions Tour points leader Bernhard Langer and partner Tom Lehman are a shot back, as is the team of Tom Watson and Andy North, Craig Stadler and Jeff Triplett and Scott Hoch and Jim Gallagher, Jr.
Langer and Lehman just missed claiming a share of the lead. Both slid birdie putts past the cup at No. 18.
Ian Baker-Finch and Bart Bryant partnered to win the Raphael Division, a 36-hole event for non-regulars on the Champions Tour. Baker-Finch, the 1991 British Open winner and CBS Sports golf commentator, made an 8-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole to defeat Keith Fergus and Blaine McCallister.