Jerry Pate (-5) was two strokes ahead of the field when round two ended on Friday. By the time rain had halted play this afternoon he was one stroke above par and in a tie with Dana Quigley (-5) and Mike Reid (-5) for first. Reid birdied his opening hole and continued consistent play with pars through the 10th hole while Quigley posted four birdies and only one bogey through 11 holes to jump into the first-place tie.
Pate expressed confidence in his ability to hold up during Sunday's extended day. "I'm in pretty good shape so there won't be a fatigue factor -- it's not going to come into my game. I'm looking forward to playing." That sounds good coming from a guy who had to drop out of competitive golf for so many years because of shoulder trouble.
Dana Quigley's good play today included hitting the pin at the par-5 3rd on his approach for a near eagle, and converting it for birdie. He chipped in for birdie on the par-4 7th off of the apron was another impressive shot.
The Champions Tour's version of Cal Ripken, Quigley hasn't missed an event since 1997 and is adding to the drama late into the weekend with his solid play. While only playing the PGA Tour from 1977-82 and finding little success there, he has flourished here. "I was intimidated by all the big stars," Quigley said. "I didn't think I belonged, and I sabotaged myself with drinking and staying out. I had a lot of growing up to do to make myself believe I can play out here with these guys." At age 58, Quigley is all grown up and finding success with nine wins on the Champions Tour and winnings in excess of $11 million. He is in contention this weekend for his first major on the Champions Tour.
Alone in fourth is Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Dave Barr who has posted three birdies and two bogies through 11 holes today. Among his birdies was a long putt at the seventh hole to keep him close. Barr tied for fourth at this event last year and is in position to better that finish as he is only one stroke off the lead.
Ray Floyd and Peter Jacobsen are tied for fifth at 3-under. Both players are at 1-under-par in the middle of round 3. Tom McKnight and R.W. Eaks are both having a tough time holding things together and are tied for seventh. McKnight is 1-over-par through 11 holes and Eaks is 3-over-par through 10 holes with bogeys at the par-5 3rd, the par-5 6th and the par-4 10th. Eaks trailed Jerry Pate by one stroke at the end of round two before faltering today. With 8 holes remaining in round three he has tomorrow morning to make up lost ground.
Hale Irwin's hopes of repeating his victory here at Arnold Palmer's home course dwindled further as he struggled to find an answer to his second round 75. Irwin is a tournament total 6-over-par through fourteen holes today.
When rain halted play late this afternoon 38 players had completed round 3 at the Senior PGA Championship. The 33 golfers left on the course will begin play at 8:15 a.m. Sunday and then immediately begin their final rounds following round 3's completion.
Tight at the top, this year's Senior PGA Championship should prove exciting through the final round.
Pos Player Today Thru Tot R1 R2 T1 Dana Quigley -3 11 -5 71 71 T1 Jerry Pate +1 10 -5 70 68 T1 Mike Reid -1 10 -5 70 70 4 Dave Barr -1 11 -4 69 72 T5 Ray Floyd -1 12 -3 70 72 T5 Peter Jacobsen -1 11 -3 71 71 T7 Tom McKnight +1 11 -2 69 72 T7 R.W. Eaks +3 10 -2 69 70 T9 Mark McNulty +3 11 -1 74 66 T9 Hajime Meshiai +2 11 -1 70 71
Photo Credits: © AP