SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP)Ken Duke has played 313 times on the PGA Tour, 159 times on the Korn Ferry and this is his 16th start on the PGA Tour Champions since turning 50 this year. All that experience and Duke gets to try something new in the Sanford International.
This is the first time he’s had at least a share of the lead going into the final round.
Duke shot a 5-under 65 on Saturday and shared the lead with Kirk Triplett, who birdied his last hole for a 68.
They were at 6-under 134, and didn’t have anything more than a one-shot margin over Paul Goydos. The leading eight players were separated by just two shots going into Sunday at Minnehaha Country Club. Scott McCarron, the Charles Schwab Cup leader, had a 68 and was tied for 14th, but he was only four shots behind.
The wind wasn’t as strong Saturday, but it was enough of a test to keep players on edge.
”On a golf course like this, when it gets firm and fast, you just have to keep it front of you,” Duke said. ”You really have to use your imagination going into the greens because they’re so firm and fast, so you’ve got to keep the ball below the hole. All of us today in our group, we got behind the hole a few times and we paid for it. I just hit it close a couple times and got through the day.”
Goydos had a 65 and has a great chance to win for the first time in two years. Colin Montgomerie (66) and Steve Flesch (65) were among those two shots back.
Goydos says the course doesn’t favor any style, whether that’s power or accuracy, aggressive or playing for spots on the green.
”This golf course I think is one of those golf courses that everybody’s going to kind of play it their own way,” Goydos said. ”There is no set way to play it. I have my theory and everybody else has got theirs. Very rarely do you see on a Champions Tour event or PGA Tour event where you get on a tee on a non-par 3 and three different clubs are off the tee. That just doesn’t happen in golf anymore, and this golf course that happens all the time.”
Duke’s only victory on the PGA Tour was at the Travelers Championship in 2013. Triplett, meanwhile, is going for his second victory this year on the 50-and-over circuit.
”I had some chances coming in, didn’t quite make them, but I knew I was going to be near the lead,” Triplett said. ”I felt comfortable even if I ended up the day 3 or 4 under total that I would have a chance to win the tournament tomorrow. That’s what all of us are trying to do.”
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