Englishman Roger Chapman arrived at Harbor Shores this week a virtual unknown.
The highlight of his career was a victory in Brazil a dozen years ago. He plays on the European Senior Tour, which has held only one event this year and is pressed for sponsors.
Now Chapman, 53, is one round from a surprising victory at the Senior PGA Championship in Benton Harbor, Mich.
After shooting a 7-under 64 on Saturday, he’s not only leading, he’s threatening to run away from the field. Chapman leads John Cook by five strokes heading into to the final round.
“Hopefully, if all goes well tomorrow, maybe we can attract a few more sponsors and hopefully get our purses up,” Chapman said.
Chapman finished the third round at 14-under par. Cook, who began the round tied with Chapman, shot a 69 and couldn’t keep pace.
“It felt like I shot a hundred compared to Roger,” Cook said. “He played phenomenal. He had it. It was a pleasure to watch.”
Chapman’s 54-hole score of 199 tied the event record set by Sam Snead in 1973, although Snead was 17 under when he set the mark.
Steve Pate had a 67 to join Hale Irwin at 7 under. Irwin, 66, made a triple bogey on the par-3 fourth, but played well on the back nine to shoot a 69.
Chapman beat Padraig Harrington in a playoff to win a European Tour event in Brazil in 2000. He has never won on the Champions Tour. He didn’t even have a top-10 finish in 11 starts last year.
DUFNER STILL HOT
Jason Dufner matched playing partner Zach Johnson’s birdie putt on the 17th hole, then overcame a wayward final tee shot to save par and keep the lead at the Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas.
Slowed by two late bogeys, Dufner shot a 4-under 66 in the third round for a 15-under 195 total.
That put him a stroke ahead of Johnson, who shot 65 to set up what should basically be a match-play final group today for the winner’s plaid jacket. Tom Gillis was a distant third at 7 under after a 69.
Dufner, the winner last week in the Dallas-based Byron Nelson Championship, is trying to become the first to sweep the two events in back-to-back weeks.
Defending champion Luke Donald remained in position to regain the top spot in the world ranking, shooting a 3-under 69 to take a two-stroke lead in the BMW PGA Championship in Virginia Water, England.