Benton Harbor, MI – Roger Chapman fired a seven-under 64 Saturday to take a five-shot lead after three rounds at the Senior PGA Championship, the first major this season on the Champions Tour.
Chapman finished 54 holes at 14-under 199 at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores to match the tournament's 54-hole scoring record. Sam Snead had a 199 after three rounds in 1973 at PGA National.
John Cook, who shared the 36-hole lead with Chapman, managed a two-under 69 and is alone in second at minus-nine.
Four-time champion Hale Irwin (69) and Steve Pate (67) share third place at seven-under-par 206.
Chapman, who is making his first Champions Tour start of the year, rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on the second to get his round going.
The Englishman came back with birdies on four and five to move three strokes clear of Cook at 10-under. Chapman's drive on the seventh landed in some deep fescue and he could barely move his second shot.
Chapman managed to save bogey from about 10 feet and after Cook converted a 20-footer for birdie on No. 9, Chapman's lead was down to one.
Around the turn, Chapman pulled away from the field. He rolled in a birdie effort from about 12 feet out on No. 10. He birdied 11 and 12, both from inside eight feet, to jump to 12-under, where he was four clear of Cook, who parred the first seven holes on the back nine.
Chapman stuffed his approach at the 14th within two feet and kicked that in for birdie. He moved to 14-under with a birdie on the 16th. He parred out to lead by five.
"It was just one of those days where I think it's the best iron play I've ever played in my career," Chapman stated. "I had a few chances early on, but didn't convert those. I missed a four-footer on nine for birdie, but then hit some really good iron shots on the back nine and came home in 30. So yeah, it was pretty special."
The 53-year-old Chapman shared 27th at this event last year. In his 15 Champions Tour starts, that is his best tour finish.
Cook finally got on the board on the back nine with a birdie at the 17th.
"It was a solid round. I'm not displeased with it," Cook stated. "It felt like I shot a hundred compared to Roger. He played phenomenal. He had it. It was a pleasure to watch, but that being said, we still have some work to do. And I hit a lot of good shots. I drove the ball nicely."
NOTES: In the history of this championship, only one player who had a five- shot lead or better heading to the final round failed to win. However, only three of the last 10 54-hole leaders have won the title...Chapman and Cook shared the 36-hole lead, and Irwin was the last 36-hole leader to win the title in 2004.