Stricker, Jobe share lead heading to final round in Sioux Falls
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—Steve Stricker and Brandt Jobe will share the lead heading to the final round of the Sanford International Champions Tour golf tournament after each shot rounds of 67 Saturday, Sept. 22, at Minnehaha Country Club in Sioux Falls.
Jobe and Stricker will be in Sunday's final group, along with Jerry Smith, who stands one shot back, teeing off at 11 a.m. Also in the hunt is Scott McCarron, who continued his strong play with a round of 68 on Saturday.
Jobe was behind Stricker for most of the day following an early bogey on the first hole, but had birdies on No. 14 and No. 15 to move to closer to the lead. Stricker birdied the par-5 16th, to hold a one-shot lead before Jobe again birdied No. 17 and No. 18 to close at 10-under-par.
Stricker was tied with McCarron until holing birdies on No. 11 and No. 12 to take a one-shot lead, and a birdie on the 16th hole, stretched that lead to two shots. But Jobe's close with two birdies and two pars from Stricker created co-leaders after 36 holes. Stricker, 51, is playing on the Champions Tour for the seventh time this season and he's playing in the final group for the fifth time.
"The more birdies you can make and stay away from those bogeys, the better," Stricker said. "It's a simple game plan, but try to stay out of trouble and keep trying to put pressure on everybody and see if you can't shoot a good number tomorrow."
Stricker has also been popular in Sioux Falls for his role he'll have next week, serving as a vice captain under Jim Furyk for the United States team at the Ryder Cup, which begins Friday near Paris. Fans were chanting "USA, USA" at Stricker throughout the day, with three-time Ryder Cup participant himself welcoming the encouragement.
"We're looking forward to it, we all are; the spectators, the players, the captains," he said. "It's a huge week in golf and we just can't wait to get over there and get it going. But I've got one more day, one more day and that's my focus is to get one more day and hopefully get this team thing started off right with a win on my side."
Smith managed to save a round that started with three bogeys on the front nine, before he birdied four times on the back, including birdies on No. 16 and No. 18 to finish with a 68 and at 9-under for the tournament.
The field average was above par, shooting 71.08 in the tournament, as the field dealt with varying winds and cool temperatures on the par-70 course playing at 6,629 yards. That made Woody Austin's round of 64 stand out, moving up 41 places on the leaderboard into a two-way tie for fifth place. McCarron, who ranks No. 2 in Charles Schwab Cup points with two wins and 11 top-10 finishes this season, can move into first place in the money list with a win Sunday, where he'll start two shots back.
"A lot of it will depend on the conditions, how much the wind's blowing," Jobe said. "I know it's supposed to be breezy again, so that's holding the scores down right now. From the amount of rain and everything they got, the course is great now."
NOTES: Saturday's festivities included a scramble with tournament host Andy North and Jack Nicklaus facing off with Graham Marsh and Dave Stockton. Marsh and Stockton won the 9-hole match-play exhibition with a birdie on the 18th hole. ... Spectator favorite John Daly withdrew early in his second round, citing back issues. ...