Warm, dry weather made for prime scoring conditions at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf on Saturday and teams did their best to take advantage in the better-ball event.
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Wayne Levy and Keith Fergus shot 12-under 60 at The Club at Savannah Harbor. They shared the lead at 20-under 124 with Peter Senior and Sandy Lyle, who combined for a 61 heading into Sunday’s final round on the island course in the Savannah River.
”You almost feel like you have to make at least a par on every hole,” Senior said. ”When you do make a bogey, you feel like you’ve dropped back two. It’s like a double-bogey in other tournaments.”
Several of the Champions Tour players almost were able to drive the 338-yard first hole, which played downwind.
”The fact that the balls are running, especially on the par-5s, is certainly a factor in so many birdies,” Fergus said.
Still, it was the short-hitting Levi who sparked the team’s surge. He holed out from a greenside bunker for birdie at the ninth and then on No. 11 hit a 3-wood to within 30 feet and sank the putt for an eagle on the 530-yard par 5.
”If we can put two balls on the greens (in regulation) and have a chance at birdie, we’ll be in pretty good shape,” said Levi, whose last win on the senior circuit came in 2004.
There were plenty of big-name players within striking range of the leaders.
Kenny Perry and Scott Hoch shot a 62 and were a stroke behind in a tie with first-round co-leaders Tom Kite and Gil Morgan, who had a 63.
Bob Tway and Tom Pernice Jr. (62) birdied the last three holes to get to 126. They were tied with Ian Baker-Finch and Joe Ozaki (62), Corey Pavin and Tom Lehman (62), and first-round co-leaders Ted Schulz and Gary Hallberg (64).
Tom Watson and Andy North (62) were tied at 127 with Hal Sutton and Larry Mize (64).
Watson and North have 10 majors between them, eight by Watson.
”It’s going to take 29 or 30 under to win this,” Lyle said. ”You can’t stop, or people will be going right past you.”
Ireland’s Des Smyth and England’s Mark James shot 63 for 9-under 126 to win the 36-hole Raphael Division. The teams of Ben Crenshaw-Curtis Strange (64) and Gary Koch-Roger Maltbie (63) tied for second at 127.
John Cook and Joey Sindelar withdrew from the Legends Division because of Sindelar’s bad back.
Sindelar injured it last week during a tournament in Tampa, but felt well enough to start this event. However, he was in pain after four holes Friday and left the course.
Cook played the last 14 holes alone and had the team just three strokes off the lead with a 65. After the round, Sindelar indicated he might be able to play, but he changed his mind early Saturday.
Cook said he would have played on as a single for Saturday’s round, but didn’t feel it was fair to finish the tournament that way.