DULUTH, Ga. - Through 242 tournaments in PGA Tour-sanctioned events, Wes Short Jr. never took a lead into the final round.
Short shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday in the PGA Tour Champions' Mitsubishi Electric Classic for a one-stroke advantage over a group of three players far more familiar with final-round pressure.
Short had a 7-under 137 total at TPC Sugarloaf, leaving him a shot ahead of Colin Montgomerie,Todd Hamilton and Mark O'Meara. Montgomerie shot 66, Hamilton 69, and O'Meara 70. Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 2014 winner, was 5 under after a 67.
Tom Watson, tied for the first-round lead at 68, fell back with two early double bogeys and finished with a 76. The 66-year-old Watson was seven shots behind Short.
Short, from Austin, Texas, took his only PGA Tour win in Las Vegas in 2005. He won the 2014 Quebec Championship for his only PGA Tour Champions win.
He rallied for each win.
''I always sneak up on them,'' Short said.
Short shot a 74 when playing in the final group at the 50-and-over event in Tucson this year and tied for 11th. He hopes that experience helps to prepare him to play with the lead Sunday.
''It helps to have more experience in the last group,'' Short said. ''Hopefully, this time I'll play a little bit better.''
The 52-year-old Short seemed to feel the pressure at the end of the round Saturday. He missed an 8-foot par putt on No. 18 and he flipped his putter backward, just missing two children sitting a few feet away.
''I didn't mean to let go of it,'' Short said. ''I'm glad it didn't hit anybody in the head.''
There were windy conditions on Friday and Saturday, though the second round was warmer. Calmer conditions Sunday could help set up even lower scores.
''If the wind is dying down ever so slightly tomorrow, I've got to be looking at 66 again to have a chance,'' Montgomerie said. ''That's what you're looking at out here. Joining the Champions, I thought this would be a bit of a holiday. It's not. This is serious stuff.''
Montgomerie played with Short at the Champions event in Mississippi this month.
''He hit the ball extremely well,'' Montgomerie said. ''He hits the ball a very long way.''
Bernhard Langer, who has a win and two second-place finishes in the tournament's three years, was 1 under after a 68.