JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Steve Stricker didn’t set any records the way he did with that 7-under-par 63 in the opening round of the PGA Championship, but his scrambling effort Saturday was nearly as satisfying.
Stricker fashioned a gritty 69 that would have made Seve Ballesteros proud in how he kept escaping trouble.
The effort kept Stricker, 44, within striking distance of winning his first major championship. He enters the final round three shots off the lead.
Though Stricker didn’t hit a fairway on the front side, and hit just three greens on that nine, he turned even par for the day. He opened his round with six consecutive one putts.
At the final hole, Stricker laid up to 99 yards and got up and down for par holing a 10-foot putt.
“I wanted to make par in the worst way,” Stricker said. “I didn't want to give one back on the last hole. That just leaves a bad taste in your mouth at the end of the day. I really wanted to make that putt and get it up and down. I don't mind playing that hole that way, the way David Toms played to win back in 2001. You know, it kind of takes a big number out of play.”