PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Is there anything better than a hole-in-one? How about when your ace gives you a one shot lead heading into the final round of your biggest tournament of the year?
That's what happened to Charles Voss (right), from Cinncinati, Ohio. He takes a one-shot lead in the Sr. Jones flight into the final round, thanks in part to a hole-in-one in the third round. Hitting a soft 9-iron, he aced the 14th hole on Dye's Valley course at TPC Sawgrass. Voss said he owes his stellar 83 and the ace (his second) to his playing partners, Scott Bradley and Thomas Cannon.
'They helped me play so loose today,' said Voss. 'I attribute a lot of [my play] to them.'
Thanks to an ace and three consecutive rounds where he's improved his score, it's safe to say Voss has already had a successful first national tournament, whether or not he brings the trophy home in the final round.
'It's been a great experience,' he said. 'You expect the players to be competitive, but you don't expect them to be so nice.'
The flight with the most competitors with a chance to win is the Sr. Palmer flight. Twelve players are within five shots of leaders Jeff True and Bill Foley.
True, 65 from Naples, Florida won four major championships on Am Tour this season. He started off slow at nationals, shooting an opening round 87 on the PLAYERS Stadium. But he bounced back with rounds of 78 and 76. True says he didn't let the fact he was eleven shots off the lead after day one get to him.
'We're amateurs,' he said. 'It's hard to hold things together for four rounds. As soon as you start thinking 'I've got to catch up to this guy,' you get into a lot of trouble.'
One thing is certain in the Palmer flight: Defending three-time nationals winner Clifford Connover appears unlikely to achieve the 'Connover Slam.' He finds himself tied for 19th.
In the Sr. Sarazen flight, Richard Stein leads by five shots. Though he hasn't been the medalist yet, he's the only player to not have a round in the 90s yet. Slow and steady is winning the race...
The True Display of the Indomitable Human Spirit Award of the tournament goes to Jim Stone, from Pearl Harbor, Florida. After shooting 107 on the PLAYERS Stadium Course in Round 2, he went 31 strokes lower in round three on the Lagoons for a 76. It was good enough for medalist in his flight.