Jeff Sluman, seeking his first victory since early last year, shot an 8-under-par 63 on Saturday for a share of the third-round lead with Chris Perry in the Greater Milwaukee Open.
Told it was his lowest score of the year, Sluman was surprised. "I didn't know that," he said. "Obviously, there are no complaints."Sluman and Perry, winless on the PGA Tour, headed into Sunday's final round at 16-under 197, leading a group of 14 players within six strokes of the lead. Perry followed Friday's 62 with a 67.
"Man, there was a lot of energy out there. It was like being at a Packers game," said Perry, the son of former major league pitcher Jim Perry and nephew of Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.
Perry, 36, who has played on the tour since 1984, said a victory would make him "the happiest guy around. . . . I'm a grinder. I play hard."
Sluman's last victory was the 1997 Tucson Chrysler Classic. Be-fore that, he won the 1988 PGA Championship.
Wisconsin favorite Steve Stricker, who became a father for the first time this week, ended Saturday's round with four birdies, climbing within one stroke of the leaders in a tournament he said would be "more special" than any for him to win.
After posting a career-best 63 on Friday, Stricker, of nearby Madison, shot a 67 on Saturday, using a caddie who once worked for Slu-man.
"I kept telling myself something good would happen," Stricker said. "The finish was just what I needed."
His wife, Nicki, who had been his caddie until becoming pregnant, gave birth to a daughter, Bobbie Jean, on Monday.
"This would be the ultimate win. It would be unbelievable," Stricker said.
EMERALD COAST SENIORS: Defending champion Isao Aoki shot a 4-under-par 66 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over Leonard Thompson after the second round of the Emerald Coast Classic.
The Japanese star was almost as hot as the 90-degree weather but not nearly as blazing as last year when he shot a Senior PGA Tour record 10-under 60, also in the second round at The Moors Golf Club.
"Last year was last year; this year is this year," said Aoki, who has found the smooth, fast greens ideal for his crisp putting style.
He opened with 65 en route to a 9-under 131 total.
"He's going deep," Hale Irwin said of Aoki's play this year and last when he also set a record for the tournament at 14-under 196.
Irwin, a six-time winner this year who tops the money list with $2,251,750, shot his second straight 67 to match first-round leader David Lundstrom at 134.
SAFEWAY LPGA: At Portland, Ore., Danielle Ammaccapane shot a 5-under-par 67 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead in the Safeway LPGA Golf Championship with a tournament-record 12-under 132 total.
Ammaccapane broke the 36-hole mark of 135 set by Kris Monaghan in 1987 and matched by Tina Barrett in 1992. Dottie Pepper set the tournament record of 14-under 202 in 1996.