Corey Pereira of Cameron Park, Calif. played just well enough in today’s third round, shooting a 2-over par 74, to hold his lead at the 22nd Sahalee Players Championship (SPC), being held at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash.
The championship, with a field of 66 elite male amateur golfers from around the world, is being contested over 72 holes of stroke play, with 36 holes being played the first day, 18 the second, and 18 on the third and final day.
Climbing up the leader board in pursuit of Pereira are Curtis Luck of Australia and Jonathan Sanders of Chatsworth, Calif., both shooting 2-under par 70s and sitting at 4-under par total, three shots behind Pereira.
There are only 10 players under par after three rounds.
Pereira started today’s third round with a 6-shot lead and played steady golf for most of the day and was even-par after 13 holes. But he double-bogeyed the par-4 377-yard 14th hole on his way to shooting 74, backing up to the field and will start tomorrow’s final round with his lead cut in half.
Pereira, who just finished his sophomore year playing for the University of Washington men’s golf team, had finished tied for second in last year’s SPC. His strategy for Sahalee’s tree-lined layout is much different than the typical approach. “I like to play aggressive off the tee here,” he said. “I always hit a lot of drivers here (while other players hit long irons and hybrids). But that’s what held me back today; I just couldn’t keep the ball on the planet today off the tee.” Pereira had blistered the course during yesterday’s 36-hole opening day, firing a 7-under par 65 in the morning round, followed by a 2-under 70 in the afternoon.
Pereira was ranked No. 38 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) following his sophomore season after which he earned All Pac-12 honors, and is the reigning Pacific Coast Amateur champion.
Luck, just 18, was the 2014 Western Australia Amateur champion, and was a semifinalist in the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur. Sanders just finished his junior year at the University of Washington, where he has 13 top-10 finishes and won the 2014 Bandon Dunes Championship and the 2014 NCAA Raleigh Regional.
For tomorrow’s final round, the first tee time is 8:00 am, with the leaders teeing off at 11:30 am. Visit www.sahaleeplayerschampionship.com for tee times, pairings and to follow along with live scoring.
The SPC is one of the events watched by the United States Golf Association when making future selections for U.S. team in the next Walker Cup.
Past champions of this prestigious amateur championship include Kyle Stanley, Casey Martin, Peter Uihlein, Nick Taylor, Daniel Summerhays, Ryan Moore, Chris Williams, Arron Oberholser and Jason Gore, among others.
Five of the past 11 SPC champions were winners of the Ben Hogan Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate golfer. More than a dozen SPC participants have gone on to play on the PGA Tour.
In addition to the annual Sahalee Players Championship, the club has also tested the world’s best when it hosted the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, which was won by Bernhard Langer; the 1998 PGA Championship, won by Vijay Singh; the 2002 World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational, won by Craig Parry; and the 1978 Pacific Coast Amateur, won by Mike Gove. In 2016, Sahalee will host the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, a major on the LPGA Tour.