SILVIS, Ill. — Brian Harman is going to play in the final pairing of a PGA Tour stop for the first time. His playing partner is one accomplished part-timer.
Harman had two eagles in a 6-under 65 on Saturday that gave him a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the John Deere Classic.
Harman's solid performance got him to 17-under 196 at TPC Deere Run. His partner today will be three-time Deere winner Steve Stricker, who is all alone in second, one stroke better than Scott Brown.
"I pay attention to what Steve's doing but don't base my game on his," said Harman, who was grouped with Stricker and Johnson Wagner in the third round. "He's had a lot of success here."
Stricker, who shot a 7-under 64 for a three-round total of 197, is 116 under par in his last 23 rounds at TPC Deere Run, including victories in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Brown is third after a 10-under 61, matching the best round on the PGA Tour in 2014.
Second round co-leaders Zach Johnson and William McGirt are at 199, along with Tim Clark and Jerry Kelly.
Two years ago, Harman was paired with eventual winner Johnson, though not in the final twosome.
"I watched Zach win this golf tournament and learned a lot," Harman said.
Stricker, making his ninth start of the year, isn't making room for another Deere trophy just yet.
"So many guys are in this thing," Stricker said. "Guys can get off to hot starts here, but you can answer them also."
There are 10 players within four shots of the lead and 13 within five. But of those players, only Stricker and Johnson, tied for fourth at 14 under, have won on the course.
"It will still be difficult for me tomorrow," Stricker said. "I'm not in that final group a lot out here, especially now. I'll want to take advantage because I'm not playing very much. To get back into the winner's circle would mean a lot."
Sauers leads by 3at U.S. Senior Open
EDMOND, Okla. — Several years ago, a rare skin disorder left Gene Sauers unsure if he would survive. Now he has a chance to win the U.S. Senior Open.
Sauers crept up on the field and shot a 3-under 68 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead after three rounds at Oak Tree National. He moved to 7-under, passing front-runners Bernhard Langer, Scott Dunlap, and Colin Montgomerie along the way.
The journey to this opportunity is what makes today's final round extra special for the 51-year-old Sauers. He said a reaction to a wrongly prescribed medication caused Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a disorder that burned the skin on his arms and legs from the inside out.
While he was in the hospital for seven weeks recovering, he pictured his golf swing. He got out of the hospital in June, 2011, and eventually returned to the course.
"The good Lord said I'm going to give you another chance," Sauers said. "Bogey doesn't matter that much anymore. That's when I learned to have a great time and tried to hit everything I was capable of doing, and it worked out today."
Langer, Dunlap, and Montgomerie are tied for second at 4 under.
It looked as if Montgomerie might run away from the field early on in the third round. He opened with birdies on 1 and 3 to jump out to a four-shot lead over Langer, who by then had moved from third to second.
Langer remained steady and Montgomerie bogeyed Nos. 5 and 7. Heading into the back nine, Mongomerie's lead was just one shot.
Then Sauers got going. He had a 33 on the back nine, including birdies on Nos. 12, 16, and 18, to take control heading into the final round. It was an impressive run for someone who hasn't placed higher than 15th in a Champions Tour event this season.
"I've got some help back home," Sauers said. "Some friends and some teachers have been helping me a little bit. They've got me hitting the ball solid now. Building my confidence is mainly what they do. They know I still have it. You know, it's just — go out there and do it. Try not to put too much pressure on myself and try to have fun."
Montgomerie shot a 3-over 74 after leading at the end of the first two days.
"I will try to do what I did Thursday with a 65," he said. "If I can do it Thursday, I can do it Sunday. If I can hit it in the fairway, I can play to the strength of my game, which is the iron game."
Toledo’s Mancinotti 11th at Ohio Amateur
CINCINNATI — Jack Mancinotti of Toledo tied for 11th at the Ohio Amateur championship at Coldstream Country Club.
Mancinotti, who will be a senior at St. John’s Jesuit, finished 73-72-71-74—290.
Andrew Dorn of West Chester, Ohio, birdied the 15th and 16th holes and passed Will Grimmer of Cincinnati down the stretch to capture his second consecutive title. Dorn finished at 276 to edge Grimmer by one stroke.