Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
September 24, 2016, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Scott McCarron followed up his course record round of 62 Friday with a five under par 66 on Saturday to maintain a two stroke lead over Doug Garwood at the 2016 Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship being played on the Mountain Course at the Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria.
On what is considered moving day at such tournaments, a number of players made big jumps on the leader board Saturday, including the trio of Jeff Maggert, Mark O’Meara and Brain Henninger, who all carded rounds of 64 to jump up 21 positions and into a tie for 5th place along with Jeff Sluman and Olin Browne.
Also carding a 64 Saturday were Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie and the USA’s Jay Haas. Montgomerie’s round improved his standing to third place and puts him in the final grouping Sunday with McCarron and Garwood, teeing off at 1:01 pm.
Haas’s round gave him the biggest move of the day – 26 spots – and into a tie for 10th place with John Cook and Duffy Waldorf. Haas, Cook and Waldorf will be in the fourth last grouping Sunday, teeing off at 12:28 pm.
McCarron and Garwood, playing in the final grouping of the day Saturday were the only two players in the field to not do any moving Saturday, with Garwood also shooting a 66 to keep pace with McCarron. Garwood actually vaulted into a two-stroke lead by carding six birdies during his opening-nine 29 – only the third time a player has shot 29 on nine holes this season – but McCarron regained the lead with an eagle and a three-shot swing on No. 12. He pushed the lead to four strokes with a birdie on the par-3 16th, but pars on the closing holes allowed Garwood to cut the lead to two.
“Tomorrow I’ll try to just keep putting the ball in play off the tee and try to get it close,” said McCarron after his round Saturday. “These greens are perfect, so when you hit a good putt, it’s got a good chance of going in. I missed a few today coming down the stretch, but overall I felt I played pretty good.”
“Doug got off to a great start, 6-under after the first nine holes, and I thought he was going to be pretty tough to catch” added McCarron. “Fortunately he came back to us a little bit at the end, but it was a good day and I’ll go hit a few balls and go get them tomorrow.”
McCarron and Garwood’s playing partner Jerry Smith was not so lucky however, shooting a one over par 72 to fall 11 places into a tie for 13th place with nine others, including Hall of Famer Vijay Singh, who started strong, at one point moving into third place, but then bogeying three of the last five holes to finish with a 69, eight strokes off the lead.
Montgomerie meanwhile carded seven birdies Saturday en route to his second straight bogey-free round and his jump into third place. He is the only player in the field without a bogey through 36 holes. Through two rounds, he has hit 24 of 26 fairways and 31 of 36 greens in regulation.
Germany’s Bernhard Langer, a favourite coming into the tournament, will have some work to do on Sunday, as he carded a three under par 68 Saturday to sit at four under overall and a tie for 26th place. Also needing to do some work Sunday will be the charismatic Miguel Angel Jiminez, who shot a 70 on Saturday to fall eight places and into a tie for 34th at three under par overall.
Other notables not having great days Saturday included Tom Kite who shot a three over par 74 to drop 25 places to a tie for 61st and KIrk Triplett who carded a 75, after a 67 Friday, to fall the hardest of the day, 43 places into a tie for 51st.
Sunday’s final round begins at 8:15 AM with Steve Schneiter and Murray Poje leading the field into play. The final grouping of the day tees off at 1:01 pm. A full listing of all tee times can be found at http://www.pgatour.com/champions/tournaments/pacific-links-championship/tee-times.html
The Nineteenth Hole: Miguel Angel Martin aced the 160-yard seventh hole with a 6-iron. It was the eighth hole-in-one this season on PGA TOUR Champions and first since Mark McNulty made a hole-in-one in the second round at the Senior Open Championship. Martin is T13 at 6-under-par after carding a second-round 67.
The four Canadians in the field: Jim Rutledge (T51, 73-69 – 142), Stephen Ames (T58, 74-69 – 143), Rod Spittle (T61, 72-72 – 144) and Murray Poje (80th, 82-79 – 161).