Steve Stricker takes Tucson lead in senior debut

TUCSON, Ariz. — Steve Stricker shot 10-under-par 63 in hot conditions Saturday to take a three-stroke lead in the Tucson Conquistadores Classic, putting him in position to win in his PGA Tour Champions debut.

 

Stricker is trying to become the 19th player to win in their first start on the 50-and-over and first since Miguel Angel Jimenez in the 2014 Greater Gwinnett Championship.

“I felt a little more comfortable today,” Stricker said. “Still a little nervous, but any time you’re playing well up and up around the lead there’s a little anxious moments here and there, but I’m handling those OK and, hopefully, I can do the same tomorrow and have a good opportunity. But need to play well. Low scores are out there.”

Tom Lehman was second after a 67. First-round leader Fred Couples had a 70 to fall into a tie for third with Kevin Sutherland (65) at 11 under.

A day after birdieing the first three holes, Stricker opened with a tap-in birdie and made an 18-footer for eagle the par-5 second on Omni Tucson National’s Catalina Course. He birdied three of the final four holes to match the tournament record and reach 16-under 130, playing 36 holes without a bogey.

“I wasn’t expecting it again,” Stricker said. “I got off to a good start yesterday and just was trying to hit good quality shots to start t he round and I did, and made a couple of putts.”

LPGA Tour: In Phoenix, Anna Nordqvist shot a tournament-record 11-under 61 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis and Ariya Jutanugarn into the final round of the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Lewis and Jutanugarn each shot 66 playing together for the third straight day. They have had identical scores each day, with Jutanugarn getting the spot in the final pairing with Nordqvist because her name was listed first on the tee sheet Thursday. Nordqvist played with Lewis and Jutanugarn the first two days.

Playing in record 95-degree heat at Desert Ridge, Nordqvist broke the tournament 54-hole record of 19 under set by Ai Miyazato in 2013.

Needing to hole her second shot on the par-4 18th to shoot 59, Nordqvist hit left of the pin and went through the green to the edge of the grandstand. She took a drop and nearly made her birdie try from the fringe.

 

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