Scottsdale, AZ – Tom Lehman fired an 8-under 62 on Saturday to secure the lead after three rounds of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Lehman, who started the day five shots behind overnight leader Jay Haas, now sits at 17-under 193. He is currently second in the Charles Schwab Cup standings and can become the first-ever golfer to secure the Cup in consecutive years with a win on Sunday.
"There is a lot on the line," said Lehman in a post-round TV interview. "I think the more you think about that the worse off you are."
Fred Couples is alone in second place at 16-under. He carded a pair of eagles en route to a third-round 62 and appears to have ably recovered from a back injury which had kept him out since late August.
Haas, coming off a career-best and course-record 60 at the Cochise Course at Desert Mountain Club, shot 69 to fall into third place at 15-under, while defending champion and first-round leader Jay Don Blake (65) is in fourth at 10-under.
The top 30 players are in the field for this event -- the final regular-season tournament of the season, which will not only produce the Player of the Year, but also the money title winner and the $1 million annuity for capturing the Charles Schwab Cup.
Only Lehman, Bernhard Langer and Roger Chapman are eligible to win the Cup.
The German Langer is 211 points ahead of Lehman and 657 points in front of Chapman in the race. Only Langer and Lehman can capture the Cup with a win.
Lehman can also secure his second straight Cup if he places second and Langer finishes in a three-way tie for fourth or worse. He also gets the Cup if he places no lower than fifth, Langer finishes 22nd or worse, and Chapman doesn't win.
Langer is currently tied for 10th place at 6-under after carding a third-round 70. He can also secure the Cup with a last-place finish as long as Lehman ends in a two-way tie for fifth or worse and Chapman doesn't win. He also gets the Cup if he ends alone in 10th, Lehman finishes fourth or worse and Chapman doesn't win.
Chapman significantly hurt his own chances with a 74 on Saturday, which dropped him into a tie for 27th place at plus-3. In order to capture the Cup, he needs to win the tournament, have Langer end in a two-way tie for sixth or worse and have Lehman finish third or worse.
Regarding the money list, Langer currently leads Michael Allen by $406,808. In order to secure the money title, Allen would have to win this week and have Langer finish in 24th place or lower.
Like Langer, Allen is currently 6-under.
Lehman was even with Couples when he approached the par-5 18th. After a solid drive, he sent his second shot into a greenside bunker. but recovered with a rescue onto the green and recorded his eighth birdie of the day with a short putt to grab the lead in dramatic fashion.
"(I'm) just going to take a mind set of competing as hard as I can tomorrow and not worrying about whatever the outcomes might be," continued Lehman.
NOTES: Lehman's 62 marked his Champions Tour-best ... Couples has been out since withdrawing from the Boeing Classic due to a balky back ... Last year, Blake shot rounds of 71-68-66-71 to win by two strokes over Mark Calcavecchia, Haas, Loren Roberts and Allen ... There are six first- timers in the field - Chapman, Joe Daley, Bill Glasson, Gary Hallberg, Kirk Triplett and Willie Wood.