April 17, 2009

Price Takes Over Top Spot

Inching ever closer to his first Champions Tour victory, Nick Price fired a four-under 67 and leads by three strokes with 18 holes left to play

Winner of three majors, Price is in his third year playing the senior circuit.

Winner of three majors, Price is in his third year playing the senior circuit.

LUTZ, Fla. (AP) -- Nick Price moved into position for his first Champions Tour victory, shooting a 4-under 67 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.

The 52-year-old Price, a three-time major champion and 18-time winner on the PGA Tour, had a 9-under 133 total at TPC Tampa Bay. He birdied two of the last three holes.

"I'm not tired (of people wondering why I haven't won on Champions)," said Price, making his 39th career start on the 50-and-over tour. "You know, my game hasn't been in good shape. I mean, I want to win out here. Mark O'Meara and I came out the same time and neither of us -- we've both had a few close shaves, but we haven't won."

Price, from Zimbabwe, has taken the lead into the final round of three other Champions Tour events, but failed to hold on.

First-round leader Larry Nelson (71) was 6 under along with Jay Haas (68) and Mike McCullough (69). Lonnie Nielsen (69) was 5 under, followed by Hal Sutton (64) at 4 under. Haas is winless on Florida, going 0-for-113 -- including 0-for-11 on the Champions Tour.

Nelson took a one-stroke lead when he eagled the 14th hole with a long putt, but bogeyed the final two holes.

"I left it short of the green (on No. 18) and hit a bad chip (by blading it) and didn't get it up and down," Nelson said. "I probably had the wrong club choice on 18. I'm happy though and I think I have a chance to win on Sunday and to be one, two shots, even, back, or (keep up with) whatever Nick does coming in."

Two-time defending champion Tom Watson followed his opening 71 with a 74 to finish at 3 over. He's making his third start since having hip replacement surgery.