Originally created 09/06/98

Sluman, Perry share Greater Milwaukee Open lead



MILWAUKEE -- Jeff Sluman, seeking his first victory since early last year, shot an 8-under-par 63 on Saturday for a share of the third-round lead with Chris Perry in the Greater Milwaukee Open.

Told it was his lowest score of the year, Sluman was surprised. "I didn't know that," he said. "Obviously, there are no complaints."

Sluman and Perry, winless on the PGA Tour, headed into Sunday's final round at 16-under 197, leading a group of 14 players within six strokes of the lead. Perry followed Friday's 62 with a 67.

"Man, there was a lot of energy out there. It was like being at Packers game," said Perry, the son of former major league pitcher Jim Perry and nephew of Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.

Perry, 36, who has played on the tour since 1984, said a victory would make him "the happiest guy around. ... I am grinder. I play hard."

Sluman's last victory was the 1997 Tucson Chrysler Classic. Prior to that, he won the 1988 PGA Championship.

Wisconsin favorite Steve Stricker, who became a father for the first time this week, ended Saturday's round with four birdies, climbing within one stroke of the leaders in a tournament he said would be `more special" than any for him to win.

After posting a career-best 63 on Friday, Stricker, of nearby Madison, shot a 67 on Saturday, using a caddie who once worked for Sluman.

"I kept telling myself something good would happen," Stricker said. "The finish was just what I needed."

His wife, Nicki, who had been his caddie until becoming pregnant, gave birth to a daughter, Bobbie Jean, on Monday.

"This would be the ultimate win. It would be unbelievable," Stricker said. "I don't feel that much pressure. I felt pressure on Monday when Nicki delivered the little girl."

Perry birdied three of the first six holes, missing an eagle by maybe an inch on the par-5 sixth hole.

Mark Calcavecchia and Nolan Henke, were two strokes behind the leaders. Henke shot 67 and Calcavecchia, struggling with his putter, had a 69.

First-round leader Loren Roberts faded from the leaderboard, shooting a 72 that left him seven strokes behind Perry and Sluman.

PGA champion Vijay Singh, making his first appearance in Milwaukee, was 5 under for the tournament after shooting a 71 Saturday.

"I've played decent, but I haven't made any putts," he said. "I don't know how these guys got that many under. I must be using the wrong ball."