McCarron Retains Lead on Moving Day at Pacific Links Championship

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Scott McCarron tees off at hole number two Saturday. McCarron holds a two stroke lead over Doug Garwood heading into Sunday's final round (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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.

Colin Montgomerie watches his tee shot into the 10th hole island green during Saturday's second round (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Colin Montgomerie watches his tee shot into the 10th hole island green during Saturday’s second round (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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.

Mark O'Meara tees off from the second tee Saturday. O'Meara and four others shot a 64 Saturday to move into contention heading into Sunday's final round (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Mark O’Meara tees off from the second tee Saturday. O’Meara and four others shot a 64 Saturday to move into contention heading into Sunday’s final round (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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.

Jay Haas shot a 64 Saturday to move up 26 spots into a tie for 10th.  He is six shots back of the lead at -8 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Jay Haas shot a 64 Saturday to move up 26 spots into a tie for 10th. He is six shots back of the lead at -8 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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.

Tournament leader Scott McCarron launches his approach shot to hole number one Saturday. McCarron shot a 66 and retains a two stroke lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Tournament leader Scott McCarron launches his approach shot to hole number one Saturday. McCarron shot a 66 and retains a two stroke lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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.

With a 66 Friday and a 67 Saturday, Olin Browne remains in contention in 5th place, just five strokes back of the lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
With a 66 Friday and a 67 Saturday, Olin Browne remains in contention in 5th place, just five strokes back of the lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“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.”

Vijay Singh looked to have the yardages figured out early on Saturday, but bogeyed three of the last five holes to sit eight strokes off the lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Vijay Singh looked to have the yardages figured out early on Saturday, but bogeyed three of the last five holes to sit eight strokes off the lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“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.”

Things looked good here for KIrk Triplett on hole 3, but he would card a 75 on the day to fall well off the pace (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Things looked good here for Kirk Triplett on hole 3, but he would card a 75 on the day to fall well off the pace (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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.

It was not a great day for Jerry Smith on Saturday, who followed his 64 Friday with a round of 72 to drop him into a tie for 13th place (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
It was not a great day for Jerry Smith on Saturday, who followed his 64 Friday with a round of 72 to drop him into a tie for 13th place (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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.

Colin Montgomerie watches his chip shot at the first green Saturday. Montgomerie would shoot a 64 and sits in third place heading to Sunday's final round (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Colin Montgomerie watches his chip shot at the first green Saturday. Montgomerie would shoot a 64 and sits in third place heading to Sunday’s final round (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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.

Germany's Bernhard Langer tees off on hole one of the second round of the Pacific Links Championship Saturday. Langer shot a 68 Saturday and remains 10 shots back of the lead heading into Sunday's final round (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Germany’s Bernhard Langer tees off on hole one of the second round of the Pacific Links Championship Saturday. Langer shot a 68 Saturday and remains 10 shots back of the lead heading into Sunday’s final round (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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.

Despite shooting a 74 on Saturday, Tom Kite found a reason or two to laugh it up with the spectators (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Despite shooting a 74 on Saturday, Tom Kite found a reason or two to laugh it up with the spectators (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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

Scott Dunlap had a 65 Saturday and has moved into fourth place, just four strokes back of the lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Scott Dunlap had a 65 Saturday and has moved into fourth place, just four strokes back of the lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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).

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