Ireland’s Padraig Harrington shot a scorching 9-under-par 62 on Saturday to take the lead by five strokes at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.
Harrington sits at 21-under 192 after opening with an eagle and carding seven birdies with no bogeys to cruise past New Zealand’s Steven Alker, whose third-round 68 seemed rather pedestrian.
“Well, Padraig kicked my ass today, that’s basically what happened,” Alker said.
Harrington’s 54-hole score is the lowest in the history of the tournament and his 62 was his lowest score on the Champions Tour.
“You know, today was a good day,” Harrington said. “I think I’ve been playing pretty solid all the way through and just waiting for a good day like today. … So, yeah, game has been good and if your game is good, good things like that come to you. But I will say you’ve got to be very careful for what you want, because I did say at the start of the week I wanted a 72-hole tournament. I would be better off with a 54, wouldn’t I?”
Harrington’s 54-hole score also marks the lowest by any player this season on the senior circuit.
Even so, Harrington said he’s taking nothing for granted in Sunday’s final round.
“I’ve always been a better chaser than leader,” Harrington said. “We’ll go and see tomorrow what happens. I’ve certainly given myself a few options. You know, five ahead, so hopefully I’ll go out there and play well and can wave at the crowds which if it doesn’t happen that way, well, we’ll have to dig deep and find another way of winning.”
Alker is his closest contender at 16 under, five strokes back. He posted a clean card but with just three birdies.
“(Harrington) had a nice round, just kind of pulled away on the back nine,” Alker said. “I was just trying to make a few birdies coming in. I didn’t really give myself as many chances the last couple days, so that front nine, you want to get a few birdies early, so didn’t quite happen. Yeah, it’s there to take. I’ve got a lot of chasing to do now to win the tournament, but yeah, get a good night’s sleep and we’ll be all right.”
Brian Gay sits solo third at 15 under, six strokes back after a 66. Germany’s Alex Cejka (63) is in fourth at 14 under while South Africa’s Retief Goosen (68) is eight strokes back in fifth place.
–Field Level Media