Saturday's golf: Maggert leads, Kelly back in Charles Schwab Cup mix

Associated Press
Jerry Kelly

Phoenix — Jeff Maggert kept the lead Saturday in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while Jerry Kelly had one of the best rounds of the day to get back in the fight for the PGA Tour Champions’ season points title.

Maggert birdied the par-5 18th for a 2-under 69 and a one-stroke lead over Miguel Angel Jimenez with one round left at Phoenix Country Club in the season finale. Maggert had a 16-under 197 total. He has led all three days, opening with rounds of 63 and 65.

“I always feel like Saturday’s the hardest day to play with the lead because you want to stay in the lead and then it’s like you’re kind of in between,” Maggert said. “I wanted to be aggressive. It would have been nice to shoot another 4, 5, 6 under, but it’s a long way to the finish and just need to play steady tomorrow and make some birdies.”

Jimenez birdied the final two holes for a 63. He won the playoff opener last month in Virginia.

“Yesterday it was no good, but today it was working back again like the first round,” Jimenez said. “The greens are very good and the people are hitting low. On this course, you need to hole putts.”

Retief Goosen, the last of the five players in the field with a chance to take the season Charles Schwab Cup title, was third at 14 under after a 66. Joe Durant (65) was 13 under, and Berhard Langer (69) and Woody Austin (65) were 12 under.

Kelly, second behind Scott McCarron in the standings, followed a second-round 74 with a 64 to move into a tie for 12th at 9 under.

“Started out shaky like yesterday, but great bunker shot on 2 kind of set me up,” Kelly said. “A close birdie on 3 and then I was kind of off to the races. … I feel like I left plenty of them out there. I hit a lot of good putts that didn’t go, missed a few shots, but I had some good ideas going for tomorrow, looking forward to it.”

Kelly would win the season championship with a victory and could take it with a solo sixth-place finish if McCarron — tied for 25th at 4 under after a 69 — ends up in a three-way tie for 18th or worse.

McCarron would take the title no matter where he finishes if Kelly finishes in a two-way tie for eighth or worse and Langer, Colin Montgomerie and Goosen fail to win.

Langer is still in the mix for his record sixth season title. Third entering the week, the 62-year-old German star needs to win the event and have McCarron finish in a two-way tie for fifth or worse and Kelly finish in a two-way tie for second or worse. Langer is coming off a playoff loss to Montgomerie on Sunday in California in the second playoff event.

“You just never know in this game,” Langer said. “It’s the type of course if you really get hot, you can shoot low, and if you’re a little off, you can lose a couple. That’s just how it is.”

Montgomerie, fourth in the standings, was tied for 10th at 10 under after a 67. Like Langer, Montgomerie and Goosen also needs to win the tournament and get help from McCarron and Kelly to take the season title.

“Tomorrow, going to have to go low. That’s just the way it is out here,” Goosen said. “The last two tournaments, the winner shot 9 under in the final round, so feels like tomorrow you’re going to have to shoot 9 under to win.”

Maggert won three times on the PGA Tour and has five senior victories, one in 2014 and four in 2015.

LPGA

In Shiga, Japan, local favorite Ai Suzuki shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the LPGA Japan Classic.

Suzuki had seven birdies at the par-72 Seta Golf Course to finish her two rounds at 12-under 132. Gaby Lopez shot 67 and was in second place in the final event of the LPGA Tour’s Asia Swing.

Hannah Green, who held a share of the lead with Suzuki after the opening round on Friday, shot a 69 and was tied for third with Hyo Joo Kim (68).

Defending champion Nasa Hataoka struggled with her game and finished with a 76 that included five bogeys and a double bogey.

Lexi Thompson, making her first start since the Indy Women in Tech Championship in September, shot a 68 to move up the leaderboard after an opening-round 74 and was 10 strokes behind Suzuki.

European

In Antalya, Turkey, Matthias Schwab extended his lead to three shots with a 6-under 66 in the third round of the Turkish Airlines Open.

Schwab has a tour-best nine top-10 finishes this season. He had led overnight by one stroke as he chases his first European Tour title. Schwab has an 18-under 198 total.

Patrick Reed shot his second straight 65 to join a group of five players in second place on 15 under at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal. The others are: England’s Ross Fisher (68) and Tyrrell Hatton (65), Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre (67), and France’s Benjamin Hebert (64).

Two-time defending champion Justin Rose shot a 1-over 73 and is nine strokes off the pace.