AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Scott Parel took advantage of Retief Goosen’s problems Saturday to take the third-round lead in the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship, the fourth of the PGA Tour Champions’ five major tournaments.
Seven strokes behind Goosen at the start of the day, Parel birdied two of the last three holes — holing a 30-footer on the par-4 18th — for 3-under 67 and a one-stroke lead over Goosen at Firestone Country Club.
“I had quite few short ones on the front nine that I didn’t make,” Parel said. “I guess it all evens out.”
Goosen followed his opening rounds of 69 and 62 with a 75. The South African played the first four holes in 4 over, making a bogey on No. 1, a double bogey on No. 3 and another bogey on No. 4. He had two more bogeys in the back nine and made only one birdie in the round.
SCORES: Senior Players Championship
“I started off pretty scruffy, let me put it that way,” Goosen said. “It was a tough day out there for me. Everything seemed to go wrong. Get the wrong lies in the bunkers and all that kind of stuff. But I just kept fighting. I kept telling myself, ‘Stay in this thing, we still have another 18 tomorrow. It’s not the end of the world.'”
Parel had a 5-under 205 total. He won twice last year on the 50-and-over tour.
LEADERBOARD: Senior Players
“It’s only Saturday,” Parel said. “It would be great if that happened tomorrow, but today is only Saturday, so the lead means nothing today.”
He was surprised that Goosen and the second-round leaders struggled.
“I thought it was pretty soft. The greens I felt were a little softer than what I thought they would be, so I was kind of surprised,” Parel said. “I thought scoring behind me would be pretty good, so I don’t know what happened. But this golf course, it will get your attention. You start hitting some wayward tee shots and you can get in some bad spots out here.”
Steve Stricker (73), Kent Jones (70) and Brandt Jobe (73) were 3 under. Stricker is coming off a victory two weeks ago in the U.S. Senior Open at Norte Dame, and also won the major Regions Tradition in May.
Firestone is a longtime PGA Tour venue, hosting the World Golf Championships event and previously the World Series of Golf.
“It’s just a good golf course,” Stricker said “If you don’t hit it in the fairway, it’s a struggle. Sometimes you do hit it in the fairway and you’ve still got to maneuver a ball around a tree or overhanging limbs or branches. But the wind came up a little bit at times today, made things a little bit more difficult. A different direction as well, three different days really wind-wise. But it’s a course you need to be on, and if you’re not, it exposes some things and you’ve got to fight your way around.”