Notable movers from a difficult moving day at Southern Hills
Saturday in golf has long been known as ‘moving day’ but with Southern Hills Country Club baring its teeth, most of the field at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, save for a select few, moved the wrong way on the leaderboard.
Indeed, only six players are left in red figures going into Sunday’s finale.
But some of the big-time movers in the third round are now staring down the leader, Steve Stricker, and in prime position to take down the two-time PGA Tour Champions major winner.
Stricker’s 3-under 67 was the round of the day and saw him move from four shots back of the lead to start the day to the leader by one through 54 holes.
But the golfer who sits just one shot back of Stricker is Alex Cejka, looking to win his second PGA Tour Champions major championship this month.
His 2-under 68 was the second-lowest round of the day. Cejka did not start the day how he would have liked making back-to-back bogeys out of the gate. But he settled in with aplomb and added four birdies in 13 holes to close out his day.
“Bogey-bogey start wasn't the ideal what I was looking for. But I knew if I hit good shots, I would give me some chances and then I can make a few birdies,” said Cejka. “But I kind of played smart, the way I wanted to. I pulled some great shots off and again I'm happy to be in this position after three days.”
Cejka hit 14 Greens in Regulation in the third round, a testament to his solid ball-striking, he said, even in some tricky Tulsa winds.
“This course is already tricky without the wind. You put 10 miles an hour cross winds, down wind, into the wind, it's tough to pull the clubs,” said Cejka. “But I was really sharp, really focused and it's easy to make actually a good shot and walk off with a bogey or double bogey here if you just don't judge the wind as well.
“I was happy, I judged the wind very well and I hit the shots the way I wanted and that's key, too.”
Tim Peterovic matched Cejka’s 2-under 68 on Saturday – his low round of the week and one shot better than his second-round effort. With the 68 Peterovic moved up seven spots on the leaderboard, one of the highest such jumps of the day from the contenders.
“I feel great. I hit it really good yesterday and didn't have a lot to show for it. I'm hitting a lot of good putts, had a couple spin out of the hole today also, but overall playing pretty well, pretty solid,” said Peterovic. “But the course is playing tough. They were a little mean to us with a couple of those pins out there, but we had a couple head scratchers yesterday and today, but it's a major, it should be tough.”
Jerry Kelly and Jim Furyk were the only other golfers inside the top-10 at the KitchenAid Senior Championship heading into the final round who shot under-par scores on Saturday. They both shot 1-under 69.
Funny enough, Furyk hadn’t made a birdie in two rounds at Southern Hills until Saturday.
“I mean it is a major championship, it is a tough golf course, so pars never hurt,” said Furyk. “I didn't hit the ball the way I wanted to the first two days, I missed a lot of fairways, I put myself in some tough situations and was just able to kind of scrap and grind and kind of keep myself hanging in there and set it up where if today I go out and play a good round, I get myself kind of back in the golf tournament.”