DAVIDSON It’s been a few years since Greg Chalmers has played in the final group entering the final day in a professional golf tournament.
But that’s where Chalmers found himself Saturday – atop the leader board in the Chiquita Classic, with one round remaining in the Web.com Tour Finals event at River Run Country Club.
Chalmers, 40, shot a 5-under 67 during Saturday’s third round, ending the day at 15-under 201. That puts the Australian pro one shot ahead of Canada’s Adam Hadwin with 18 holes remaining.
“I've got to be honest – I can’t remember the last time I've led going into Sunday, and I’ve been a pro nearly 20 years,” said Chalmers, who has two career wins on the Web.com Tour, the most recent in 2008.
“It’s kinda new to me, so we’ll find out tomorrow. I’m looking forward to experiencing it. I’ll find out a couple of things about myself tomorrow.”
Chalmers, who began the day two shots behind then-leader Derek Fathauer, opened Saturday’s round with birdies on five of the first seven holes at River Run. He finished with eight birdies total – the last, on No. 17, put him in the lead – to offset three bogeys.
“Any round could be better, but I was really pleased with this one,” Chalmers said. “I was 4-under through seven holes, which is a great start. I made a lot of good swings today, and the putts rolled in.”
Hadwin, who set a tournament record with a 9-under 63 in Thursday’s opening round, bounced back from an even-par 72 on Friday with his own 5-under 67 Saturday.
Hadwin made six birdies to offset a bogey on No. 11, and held the lead for most of the back nine until Chalmers sank birdies on No. 15 and No. 17. He finished the round at 14-under 202.
“Yesterday, I just lost a little rhythm out there but I started off real well today,” said Hadwin, whose lone Web.com Tour victory came this past March in Santiago, Chile. “I was seeing the lines really well early, and my swing was great.
“I’ve hit the ball well now all three days. I’ve definitely got a lot of momentum to carry forward. I’m just going to continue firing at the pins like I have, and hopefully I can continue seeing the lines like I did today.”
Chalmers and Hadwin will have some competition for the Chiquita Classic title, with 18 players within six shots of the lead.
Peterson, who will play in the final group with Chalmers and Hadwin, is alone in third at 13-under 203, and Scott Pinckney sits at 12-under 204.
Mooresville resident Kyle Reifers and four-time PGA Tour winner Heath Slocum are among four players at 11-under 205, while Sam Saunders – the grandson of golf Hall of Famer Arnold Palmer – is among six players at 10-under 206. Six others are at 9-under 207, including Fathauer, who struggled to a 3-over 75 Saturday.