CARMEL, Calif. (October 23, 2010) - Brad Wilder's sterling third-round 67 has him out to a four-stroke lead at the conclusion of the third round of the 19th annual Stocker Cup at the Preserve Golf Club.
The 31-year-old Kentuckian had some troubles on the day, including two double bogeys, but nine birdies, the product of a blazing hot putter, more than compensated. "You can't shoot 67 without making a few you shouldn't," he said, possible referencing a 60-foot bomb he jarrred on the 6th hole. The seven-time Stocker participant has fondness for the Tom Fazio course and has perfected an approach that is obviously paying off. "The course really fits my eye," the 2001 University of Cincinnati graduate said. "You have to hit soft shots with little spin. Back home we call it a Stocker shot." The 67 is two off the course and tournament record of 65, fired by Dave Nelson in 2004.
Defending champion Kevin Marsh posted a 68 to stay within striking distance at 211 overall. Steve Hudson of Birmingham, Alabama is six back of Wilder, and is grateful for a strong incoming nine that overcame an outgoing four-over 40 due in part to the two chips needed to make bogey on the 17th hole (more on 17 below). Hudson is tied with third round co-leader Harry Rudolph, who posted a third-round 73. The Olympic Club's Mark Mance is the only other competitor under par for the tournament at 215 overall, eight back of Wilder.
The Elliott Cup, a 54-hole best-ball team competition that pits one of the scratch A-Players with a B-Player competing at 90% of their assigned handicap , was won by “B” player John Nichols of Rancho Murieta, playing in his first Stocker Cup. Nichols carded consistent rounds of 65-66-66 to win by one stroke over Matt Pingatore of The Olympic Club, who earned an award for the low round of the event - a net 62 in the second round, and Mark Flynn of the Preserve. Players changed partners throughout the three-day competition, with awards for the best “A team player and “B” player given at Saturday night's awards dinner. Those awards went to Nichols and "A" player Randy Haag.
* Inclement weather was again a factor with swirly winds and rain intensifying as the day progressed. Brad Wilder had a distinct advantage in teeing off with the first group of the day and finishing before the worst of the weather arrived.
* The par-5 17th hole claimed a number of victims Saturday, with a difficult back right hole location positioned on a tier. Andy White took an 11 after reaching the green in regulation because of putting the ball off the green twice. Randy Haag, who started the day two shots out of the lead, posted an 8 after watching a putt sail backwards.
* The players with the top 20 scores and ties make the cut for the final round. This year the cut came in at nine-over 225 with a perfect 20 players beginning play at 8:00 tomorrow morning.