Ill be a little nervous or have some anxiety tomorrow, said the 52-year-old Funk, who led after two rounds at the U.S. Senior Open two weeks ago. But I think if you dont have that, there is something wrong with you.
Funk moved into position for his first major victory on the Champions Tour, shooting a bogey-free 7-under 65 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Jay Haas after the third round of the JELD-WEN Tradition.
Funk, the winner of the season-opening MasterCard Championship in Hawaii, had a 16-under 200 total on the Crosswater Club course ' one stroke off the 54-hole record in the tournament.
Haas, the Senior PGA Championship winner in May, shot a 66. Tim Simpson (69) was 13 under, and Tom Watson (68), Joe Ozaki (64), Scott Hoch (66) and Mike Goodes (69) were another stroke back. Scott Simpson (67) and Bernhard Langer (72) were 10 under. Langer and Tim Simpson were tied for the second-round lead.
Funk, an eight-time champion on the PGA TOUR and three-time winner on the 50-and-over tour, had four birdies in a front-nine 32 and came home in 33 with birdies on three of the last four holes.
With the greens the way they are, I figured I had to shoot 67 or better to have any chance of being near the leaders, Funk said.
Funk, planning to play the PGA TOUR full-time next year, sought treatment for a sore neck from a chiropractor after his rounds Thursday and Friday. One of the most accurate drivers on tour, Funk hit every fairway in regulation Saturday.
Temperatures topped 100 degrees for the second straight day but did little to dry out the soft greens that have yielded low scores at the course. The third-round scoring average of 70.746 was the lowest of the tournament.
Haas, who followed his Senior PGA victory with a win in the Principal Charity Classic, missed much of the summer schedule because of a leg injury. He returned to tie for ninth earlier this month at the U.S. Senior Open and played in the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills.
Haas grabbed sole possession of the lead with a birdie at No. 11, hitting a 6-iron to 18 feet and rolling in the putt. He kept the lead until 18, a hole that Funk birdied. After getting too far under his tee shot, Haas left his approach short of the green, and made his first bogey of the tournament.
To go through 72 holes without bogeying would have been pretty wishful thinking, Haas said.
Haas is trying to become the first player since Watson in 2003 to win two majors in a season. Play will begin at 7:15 a.m. Sunday, two hours early because of the chance of thunderstorms. Tournament host Peter Jacobsen, who had knee replacement surgery this year and is sitting out the Tradition with a sore hip, plans to play a full schedule in 2009. Thats while I am having all these surgeries this year, said Jacobsen, who has been plagued with injuries since turning 50 in 2004. Massy Kuramoto hasnt three-putted in his last 290 holes of tournament golf.