Schroeder Maintains Lead at Emerald Coast
Schroeder is in position for his first Senior Tour victory in six years on the circuit. His best previous finish was a tie for second after losing in a playoff in the 1996 Bell Atlantic Classic. He was tied for the lead heading to the final round of that event.
'It would be gratifying to win,' said Schroeder, whose lone PGA Tour victory came in the 1973 Match Play Championship. 'I have two goals for tomorrow -- no mental mistakes and keep working on my putting stroke.'
Schroeder bogeyed the first hole of the day, then ran off seven straight pars before a 15-foot birdie putt at the ninth. He added consecutive birdies to start the back nine and another at 15. An approach in the bunker led to a bogey at 17, but he responded with a 40-foot downhill putt for a birdie at 18 to reclaim the lead.
Schroeder will try to become the third straight wire-to-wire winner of the Emerald Coast Classic, joining Bob Duval and Gil Morgan.
Ahern, whose lone career Senior Tour win came in the 1999 Canadian Open, tied a career low with his round of 64. He played bogey-free golf with four birdies on the front and two on the back, thanks in part to some putting advice from Dave Stockton.
'He spent about 20 minutes with me and it really helped,' said Ahern. 'I made more putts today than I have in a long time. He didn't like my grip, he didn't like my setup and he didn't like my stroke. Other than that I was fine.'
Ahern started a string of three straight birdies with a 30-foot putt on the third hole. His other five birdie putts were inside five feet.
Andy North and Mike McCullough, who each started the day two shots off the lead, managed rounds of 2-under 68 and share third place at 5-under par. McCullough won in Mexico earlier this year.
Bruce Fleisher, Larry Nelson and Jose Maria Canizares are each four shots behind at 4-under and capable of making a run at the top on Sunday.
Fleisher, who carded a 4-under 66, won a total of 11 times in 1999 and 2000 but has yet to win this year. Nelson, who shot a 3-under 67, already has two wins in 2001 and leads the Senior Tour money list. Canizares, who has posted a pair of 68s in the first two rounds, won earlier this month in Los Angeles and is second on the money list.
Leonard Thompson and Sammy Rachels are five shots back at 3-under, while Bruce Summerhays, Graham Marsh, Dave Eichelberger, Tom Wargo and Mike Smith are six off the pace. Smith started the day one shot behind Schroeder, but struggled to a 2-over 72.
Morgan, the defending champion, shot a 1-under 69 on Saturday and is tied for 21st at even-par 140.
Full-Field Scores from the Emerald Coast Classic
McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School
One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.
McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.
It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.
McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).
Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).
Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.
Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award
The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.
The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.
Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.
The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.
A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4
Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.
Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.
South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.
Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.
The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout
It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.
Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.
Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.
"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."
Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.
Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.