It is known as moving day in professional golf and plenty of moving went on during Saturday’s third round of the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship.
Guys moved up the scoreboard. Guys moved down. Guys moved up and then down. Guys moved up, down and back up again, and it was hard to decipher the positive movers without a road map, a scorecard and a pencil with an eraser.
When the day was done, Firestone’s leaderboard resembled a rugby scrum. Seemingly, it was filled with as many contenders as pretenders as the South Course exacted some revenge from two rounds of impressive performances and near-record scores.
Ten players were within 5 shots of the lead. Play resumes at 8 a.m. on Sunday with the final group going off at 2:10 p.m.
The biggest climber was former computer programmer Scott Parel, whose 3-under 67 lifted him from 7 shots behind second-round leader Retief Goosen at day’s outset to a 1-shot lead in front of the two-time U.S. Open champion at day’s end.
Parel, who had the second-round lead last year in this event when it was held at Exmoor Country Club outside Chicago, had a 54-hole score of 5-under 205 after making birdies on four of his last eight holes. He capped his round by making a 30-foot putt on No. 18 to take sole possession of the lead.
First-round leader Steve Stricker, Trent Jones and Brandt Jobe shared third place at 207 and Tim Petrovic was alone in sixth place at 208.
Stricker, who took the opening-round lead with a 6-under 64, struggled to a 3-over 73 that actually enabled him to trim 1 shot off his deficit.
“We [the leaders] all let a whole bunch of other players in today,” he said about the dancing scoreboard. “Somebody could come from a little bit farther back and post a good round.”
That’s precisely what Parel did, fighting off some tricky wind conditions and taking advantage of soft playing conditions.
“I thought scoring behind me would be pretty good, so I don’t know what happened,” he said. “But this golf course will get your attention.”
Goosen, who flirted with the course record on Friday with an 8-under 62, described his third round as “scruffy.”
“It was a tough day out there for me,” the South African said. “Everything seemed to go wrong. Got the wrong lies in the bunkers and all that kind of stuff. The course played tough. It got windy this afternoon, and I kept missing in the wrong places.”
Still, he finished just 1 shot back.
“I just kept fighting,” he said. “I kept telling myself to stay in this thing. We still have another 18 holes. It’s not the end of the world. One shot off the lead with one round to go is not a bad place to be.”
In his first season on the PGA Tour Champions, Goosen got off to a horrible start en route to a 5-over 75. After playing 28 consecutive holes without a birdie over the first two rounds, he went bogey, par, double bogey, bogey and saw his lead disappear faster than an ice cube in the sun. He did not get a birdie until the 450-yard No. 13th, where he made a 10-foot putt.
Jones, who has three top-10 finishes this season on the Champions Tour, was another big mover. He began the day 6 shots behind Goosen, but an even-par round with two birdies and two bogeys meant he’d start the final round just 2 shots back.
“Obviously the course is just tough, so you start there,” he said. “And then I thought the wind was tricky in the way it was blowing. It was a lot of crosswinds, and it seemed like into it was all in and down and it wasn’t helping much. It’s always the crosswinds I thought made it tricky.”
Defending champion Vijay Singh, the only former champion in the running, kept himself in the hunt with his third consecutive round of 70 and was just 5 back.
Brandt Jobe, runner-up to Scott McCarron in 2017, and Miguel Angel Jimenez, runner-up to Bernhard Langer in 2016, also were in contention.
Jobe was tied with Stricker and Jones at 207, and Jimenez was at 211, 6 shots back.