Kirk Triplett said the most important thing winners are able to do is break away from the peloton.
No, there isn’t a major cycling event in the Triangle this weekend. Triplett was talking about golf.
He used an 8-iron to connect for an eagle from 143 yards out on No. 18, finishing with a nine-under-par 63 Saturday for a two-shot lead over Paul Goydos and Paul Lehman heading into the final round of the SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club.
The 63 tied for the best second-round score in tournament history, and was one shot behind his career best at the 2012 Principal Charity Classic.
“It gets you one shot farther ahead of the group, right?” Triplett said of hitting the eagle instead of birdie. “There’s always a pack. It’s like the Tour de France, the peloton. There’s 10 or 12 guys in there at probably 6, 5, 7-under and you want to get ahead of the pack because the pack doesn’t usually end up competing for the (championship.) Some guys come out of the pack to try to win the tournament, so your goal is to kind of stay ahead of the pack and see if you can win the tournament.”
Triplett has three victories on the tour, the most recent the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Fla., on Feb. 16. He has had three victories on the PGA Tour and one on the Web.com Tour.
Goydos shot a 67 and Lehman a 68 to forge their tie for second.
“I was just playing good,” said Goydos, who recovered for the solid round after putting his first shot of the day into the lake. “I felt I had a good warmup session and I think I only missed one green yesterday. Other than a few holes I played pretty well at Pebble Beach (finishing tied for 14th two weeks ago) and obviously I played well in Hawaii (winning the Pacific Links Championship), so my game was in pretty good shape. A lot of times it’s easy to recover when you know things are (generally) going well.”
First-round leader Guy Boros, the son of the late Hall of Famer Julius Boros, and Fred Funk are tied for fourth at 136.
“It just kind of happens,” Funk said of his sizzling round of 64 after Friday’s par round. “You can’t force it. I made a really nice save on No. 6 and a long putt on No. 7, and then all of a sudden I made a pretty difficult putt that wasn’t that long on No. 9, but it was a big breaker and then I was thinking I could really get this thing going when I hit it close on 10.”
Bernhard Langer, who won the SAS event in 2012 and is the leader for the Charles Schwab Cup, is at 138. Colin Montgomerie, who is in second place in the Schwab Cup race and the only player with a mathematical chance to catch Langer, is at 139 along with 2011 SAS winner Kenny Perry.
Last year’s SAS champion Russ Cochran, who also won it in 2010, is seven shots off the pace at 140 along with 2005 champion Hale Irwin and former North Carolina coach John Inman.
Joe Daley withdrew from the tournament after eight holes on Saturday with an ailing back.
Following the competition, Prestonwood pros Ryan Roberts and Brian Burgwyn played No. 17 as the last of the 140 holes they played in 24 hours for Folds of Honor, a group which raises money for scholarships and other assistance for families of fallen or disabled members of the military. The feat raised $25,000.
Derek Davis of Holly Springs won the Live Fearless 5K race run over the tournament’s back nine in 17 minutes, 28 seconds on Saturday morning, while Anne Macdonald of Cary was the first female finisher in 21:45.