Leader Piercy's 61 breaks Reno-Tahoe Open record
RENO, Nev. — Scott Piercy reeled off eight consecutive birdies to post a 28 on the front nine and eagled the 616-yard closing hole to break the course record with an 11-under 61 on Saturday, taking a two-stroke lead after three rounds of the Reno-Tahoe Open.
Piercy, winless in three years on the PGA Tour, enters the final round at 13-under 203, two ahead of Josh Teater and three ahead of a group that includes 1995 PGA champion Steve Elkington.
Elkington, who has 10 career victories but none since 1999, followed a 65 on Friday with a 68 to get to 10-under 206. He was tied for third with 2006 Reno champ Chris Riley, first-round leader Nick O'Hern, Pat Perez, John Merrick and Blake Adams. Two-time Reno winner Vaughn Taylor and 2007 champ Steve Flesch were at 9-under.
Piercy's birdie barrage on the front matched both the longest such streak and lowest nine holes in relation to par posted on tour this season. He was one shy of the course record for nine holes set by Riley when he fired a 27 on what is now the back nine in 2008.
The 32-year-old Las Vegas native said he didn't really think about shooting a 59, but knew he was one shy of the PGA record nine consecutive birdies Mark Calcavecchia had in the second round of the 2009 RBC Canadian Open.
"It was fun to see the ball go in the hole," said Piercy, a two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour who currently is ranked 142nd on the PGA money list with $365,162 and has $2.2 million in career earnings.
Piercy said he was frustrated the first two rounds because he hit the ball well but couldn't get putts to drop on the 7,472-yard mountain course at the Montreux Golf & Country Club on the edge of the Sierra.
"I told my caddie yesterday if I can keep hitting it well and get a few balls to go in the hole, we might do something special," he said. "I didn't think this, but I'll take it when I can get it, you know?"
At Blaine, Minn., Peter Senior shot a bogey-free 67 and John Huston birdied No. 18 for a 68 on Saturday that left them tied for the lead at 12 under after the second round of the 3M Championship.
Jay Haas, the co-leader after the opening round, shot a 69 and was one shot back.
Mark Calcavecchia (68), who finished second in last year's event, and Minnesota native Tom Lehman (69) were two behind. Tommy Armour III (67), Mark O'Meara (68), Kenny Perry (70), Nick Price (68) and Hal Sutton (69) trailed by four.
Play was delayed 1 hour, 56 minutes due to rain and lightning when the leaders began their back nine at TPC Twin Cities.
Early in the day, the TPC Twin Cities played much like it did Friday when 53 of 80 players broke par by firing right at the flags. However, the wind began to pick up as the final groups began their rounds around noon, quickly reducing the number of birdies that were being posted. Following the stoppage, the wind was not a factor, and scores began to drop again.
Leading by three shots, Huston hit his tee shot on No. 12 into a water hazard, leading to a bogey. Haas and Lehman birdied the hole to get within one shot. Haas birdied No. 13 to temporarily tie for the lead, but missed a short putt on No. 18 while Huston birdied the final hole.
Senior, who has yet to win since joining the Champions Tour last year, birdied three of the four par-3s. He hit 27 of 28 fairways in the first two rounds, and 33 of 36 greens in regulation.