by Scott Seward
CARMEL, Calif. (Oct. 29, 2011) --- Randy Haag of San Francisco has a five-stroke lead after the third round of the 20th annual Stocker Cup at The Preserve GC.
Haag has led since the beginning of the event and is seeking to become the first player with three Stocker Cup titles. But, as with the second round, the 52-year-old came off the course grumpy after bogeying the 18th hole. "Today was a combination of putts not going in and struggling a little with the long game," he said. But the Olympic Club member is on such a roll right now, his self-proclaimed poor rounds still end up under par - he shot 71 in the third round to extend his lead two more strokes. (Haag has gradually added to his lead each round).
Jerry Ledzinski from the nearby Tehama Club has quietly sneaked into contention after carding a two-under 70 in the third round, the low score of the day. But it took an almost disastrous triple bogey on the Preserve's 17th (Ledzinski's 8th hole) to jump-start the 38-year-old. "I thought that I had the front nine left and that there could be a 32 or 33 there," he said. Ledzinski, who qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur earlier in the year, ended up bettering that score by one building some serious momentum for tomorrow's final round.
Two-time defending champion Kevin Marsh, 38, is six back after a 73 in the third round. "It was a struggle today," he said. "I'm playing better this week than I have in a while, but I've got to play better tomorrow." Marsh is tied with Jeff Wilson, 48, or Fairfield, who posted a 71 in the third round. The five-time U.S.G.A. medalist is one of the most decorated players in the field and along with Haag, is the only other player to avoid posting a score over par. Also at two-under for the event is Mike McCoy of West Des Moines, Iowa, who was unable to duplicate his tournament-low 67 in the second round.
Anthony Barrera of the Ranch Club and Billy Mitchell of Bridgemill Athletic Club are seven back in seventh place.
Brady Exber of TPC Summerlin has the lead in the race for the Tatum Cup, for "A" golfers aged 55 and older. Exber stands at three-over 219 after a third-round 74.
Fred Vinton of The Preserve captured the Elliott Cup, which was presented after Saturday's third round. The Elliot Cup is a 54-hole best-ball team competition that pits one of the scratch A-Players with a B-Player competing at 90% of his assigned handicap. Vinton was powered by a tournament-low net 60 in the second round.
The top 16 "A" players and ties along with the top 4 senior players will advance to the final round on Sunday. The cut came at six-over 222 with 22 players (18 plus four seniors) earning a spot in the fourth round. Final round action begins at 8:00 at The Preserve.