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Calcavecchia: 'I'm glad I ran out of holes'

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Mark Calcavecchia lost the directions to the magic kit after 11 holes Saturday at the Regions Tradition.

The 1989 British Open champion, seeking to make his first victory on the Champions Tour a major championship, had a six-stroke lead with seven holes left to play in the third round at Shoal Creek. But the same guy who had worked wonders around the front nine - hitting only three fairways but requiring only 10 putts - lost his way, going four-over in the finishing stretch.

"I'm glad I ran out of holes," Calcavecchia said. "Probably about what I deserved. I got away with murder on the front nine."

Calcavecchia's reversal of fortune left him with a back-nine 39 for a 71, leaving him at 12-under 204 after 54 holes, one ahead of Jay Haas, who shot a 68. Tom Pernice Jr. and Tom Lehman are at 10-under. Pernice would have gone into the final round in even better shape had he not made a sloppy double bogey at the final hole, where he three-putted from three feet.

As Calcavecchia noted, aside from a couple of runaways at the Phoenix Open stop on the PGA Tour, he has tended to keep things "interesting" when he's in the lead. His back nine Saturday certainly did that to the complexion of this tournament. Haas, who will be keeping an eye on son Bill, in contention at the Wells Fargo Championship, is trying to win for the first time since the 2009 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship.

Calcavecchia and Haas will tee off in the final group at 1:10 CDT, about an hour prior to a planned one-minute moment of silence and suspension of play in memory of Seve Ballesteros, who passed away early Saturday in Spain.

-- Bill Fields

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