2019 Regions Tradition Championship: Final-round pairings
|1||7:00 AM||Mike Goodes
|10||7:00 AM||Woody Austin
Miguel Angel Jiménez
|1||7:10 AM||Darren Clarke
|10||7:10 AM||José María Olazábal
|1||7:20 AM||Dan Forsman
|10||7:20 AM||Tim Petrovic
|1||7:30 AM||Jeff Maggert
|10||7:30 AM||Spike McRoy
|1||7:40 AM||Rocco Mediate
|10||7:40 AM||Doug Garwood
|1||7:50 AM||Shaun Micheel
|10||7:50 AM||Bart Bryant
|1||8:00 AM||Joe Durant
Tommy Armour III
|10||8:00 AM||Wes Short, Jr.
|1||8:10 AM||Joey Sindelar
|10||8:10 AM||Vijay Singh
Tom Pernice Jr.
|1||8:20 AM||Willie Wood
|10||8:20 AM||Mark McNulty
|1||8:30 AM||Brandt Jobe
|10||8:30 AM||Mark Calcavecchia
|1||8:40 AM||Paul Broadhurst
|10||8:40 AM||Chris DiMarco
|1||8:50 AM||Billy Andrade
|10||8:50 AM||Tom Gillis
|1||9:00 AM||Steve Stricker
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — If Friday was all about staying in attack mode for Steve Stricker, Saturday was all about patience and perseverance for the Madison golfer, who is in search of his first career major championship.
Stricker went the first 12 holes of the third round of the Regions Tradition without a birdie before making three over his final five holes — all on par-5s — to salvage a 2-under-par 70. At 14-under 202 through 54 holes of the first of five majors on the PGA Tour Champions calendar, Stricker ended the day with the same two-shot lead with which he began the second round.
Bernhard Langer, who has won 10 majors on the senior circuit, shot 68 and leads the closest pursers at 12-under 204, tied with David Toms (70) and Billy Andrade (69). There are eight golfers in all within five shots of Stricker while Madison's Jerry Kelly was six back at 210 after bettering his previous day's effort by one stroke for the second day in a row with a 3-under 69.
"It's tough to win at any level and it's no different out here," Stricker told Golf Channel after putting himself in position for his third career victory in two-plus years on PGA Tour Champions. "Hopefully, I can learn a little bit from what I did (Saturday) and play a little bit better (Sunday)."
One day after making eight one-putt birdies among 24 putts overall in an 8-under 64 at Greystone Golf & Country Club, Stricker had five one-putt pars among 28 putts in the third round. He made two scrambling pars at Nos. 16 and 17 before playing a chip shot from just short of the 18th green off a back-stop behind the pin and made a 15-footer for his final birdie.
"I hit some good putts in there," Stricker told Golf Channel after his round, referring to the handful of makable birdie putts that didn't find the hole. "I over-read some, misread some, hit some poor putts. It was a mixed bag of everything. But I was, I was very patient. I knew there was a long ways to go and I just stayed patient and I was able to get three (birdies) coming in."
Stricker, who still held a share of the lead despite a 1-over 37 on the front nine, briefly fell two strokes behind after Langer birdied the par-3 14th hole. But Stricker made his first birdie at No. 13 to stay within one shot of Langer and Toms, who also birdied No. 13 playing with Stricker to get to 13-under.
While the others struggled down the stretch, Stricker picked up a birdie at No. 15 to catch Toms and then moved one shot ahead of his playing partner when Toms bogeyed No. 16. Stricker two-putted from the front fringe for par on No. 16 and then got up-and-down after pulling his tee shot on the par-3 17th hole left of the green before showing deft touch again to birdie No. 18.
"I didn't put myself in a very good spot there," said Stricker, who hit a low liner with his 3-wood on his second shot into the par-5 finishing hole and left himself with a slightly downhill lie behind a greenside bunker. "I was just trying to get it on the back of the green there, let it roll back down and have a 10- or 15-footer (for birdie). It's a tough little pin in that corner, but I was able to see Billy (Andrade's) putt before mine so it gave me a bit of a read.
"I didn't want to fly it against the grandstand, because I've seen some guys come all the way back off into the hazard ... or into the bunker."
Stricker, whose best finish in a major championship on the PGA Tour came at the 1998 PGA Championship near Seattle, hopes the poise he showed over the back nine Saturday will carry over into Sunday's final round.
It is the seventh time Stricker will play in the final group on PGA Tour Champions. Last year at the Regions Tradition, Stricker played in the final group, finishing runner-up to Miguel Angel Jimenez.
The Regions Tradition is the only senior-tour major Stricker has played during his three seasons on PGA Tour Champions. He has a scoring average of 68.36 in 11 rounds at the event.
"I never was able to win (a major) on the regular tour so to get one out here would be very special," Stricker said.