Triplett goes low, leads SAS Championship by two strokes

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

CARY, N.C. – Kirk Triplett’s birdie-eagle finish to his second round propelled him to a two-stroke lead at the 2014 SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club on Saturday.

Triplett’s bogey-free, 9-under-par 63 included seven birdies and ended with an eagle on the par-4 18th hole.

“Those shots, they’re luck,” Triplett said of his final hole.

“I hit a really nice shot, hit it right at the hole, but it could just as easily be 15 feet by or 15 feet short. To get a birdie is nice and gives you some momentum birdieing 17 and 18. I bogeyed 18 yesterday (Friday), but to get an eagle, that’s even one step better. I think the biggest thing and the most obvious thing is right now it puts me in the lead.”

Paul Goydos (67) and Tom Lehman (68) trailed close behind as Goydos, a recent winner at the Pacific Links Hawai’i Championship, birdied his final three holes to move within two strokes of the lead, while Lehman birdied two of his last three holes to sit tied with Goydos.

“Well, I was playing good, I felt I had a good warm-up session and I think I only missed one green yesterday (Friday),” Goydos said.

“Other than a few holes, I played pretty well at Pebble Beach and I obviously played well in Hawaii, so my game was in pretty good shape. A lot of times it’s easier to recover when you know things are going well. If you’re only making two birdies a round or one birdie a round and you hit it in the lake on the first hole – it’s funny, I made six birdies after bogeying the first hole. I think patience is borne out of good play in a sense.”

A total of four of the top-five names on the leaderboard have already won a tournament this year – Triplett (ACE Group Classic), Goydos (Pacific Links Hawaii Championship), Lehman (Encompass Championship) and Fred Funk (Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf/w Jeff Sluman) are seeking to become the fifth multiple winner on the Champions Tour in 2014.

Rookie Guy Boros, the first-round leader, carded a 2-under 70 and was T4 with Funk who finished with an impressive 8-under par 64 on the day.

“Made probably one of my better up-and-downs ever on the 6th hole after one of the worst iron shots, probably one of the best chip shots I’ve ever had to save par,” Funk said.

“Then I made a long one on 7, but overall it’s just a good solid round – made some nice putts. I had a few more opportunities I could have made, but can’t make them all.”

2014 SAS Championship – Final Round Tee Times/Groupings