Englishman can smell major Champions Tour victory

Posted: Sunday, July 11, 2004

DEARBORN, Mich. Mark James has played for the European Ryder Cup team seven times, captained it once, and won 22 tournaments overseas.

Yet, winning a major on the Champions Tour in his first year with the 50-and-over set would mean a lot to him.

''It would be brilliant. I would be over the moon,'' he said.

The Englishman took the third-round lead in the Senior Players Championship on Saturday, shooting a 5-under 67 for a 14-under 202 total at the TPC of Michigan.

James was three strokes ahead of Gary McCord and Jose Maria Canizares, the largest third-round lead in the tournament since 1999 when Hale Irwin was ahead by four strokes and won by seven. McCord and Canizares, the second-round leaders, shot 71s.

James caught a break when playing partner Dana Quigley ruined a strong round with a quadruple bogey. They were tied at 14 under until Quigley fell apart at the par-5 17th.

''It was sickening to watch,'' James said.

After Quigley's drive left him 232 yards short of the hole, he went for the green, but fell just short and into the water. He dropped, then found water again before hitting over the green. Quigley then chipped well past the hole before two-putting for a 9.

''If I had that same shot again, I'd do the same thing,'' Quigley said. ''I'm not going to second-guess myself. In my heart, that was the right shot. I'm sure that every golfer in America knows how I felt out there.''

He bogeyed the last hole, falling to even-par 72 for the round, and 9 under for the tournament, tied for sixth.

Quigley, the ''Iron Man'' of the Champions Tour, has played in every one of the last 250 events he has been eligible for since 1997, and 235 consecutive overall.

Bruce Fleisher and Jim Ahern each shot 69s, and will start the final round four shots back.

John Deere Classic

SILVIS, Ill. Argentina's Jose Coceres put himself in good position to win his third PGA Tour title, shooting two 3-under 68s to take a two-stroke lead in the John Deere Classic.

Coceres, whose only bogey in 25 holes Saturday came on his final hole, had a 15-under 198 total. Australia's Greg Chalmers was second after finishing off a third-round 69 with a birdie.

Steve Stricker (64) was four strokes back along with Jay Haas (67), Robert Gamez (67), Joe Durant (67), Mark Hensby (69), Stuart Cink (67) and Vaughn Taylor (70). Defending champion Vijay Singh had a 67 to top a group at 10 under.

Canadian Women's Open

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario U.S. Women's Open champion Meg Mallon shot a 7-under 65 to extend her lead to four strokes in the Canadian Women's Open.

Scottish Open

LUSS, Scotland Australia's Marcus Fraser shot a 7-under 64 for a share of the third-round lead in the Scottish Open with France's Gregory Havret.

Fraser and Havret (67), both trying to play their way into the British Open, had 14-under 199 totals. The top finisher not already eligible will earn a spot next week at Royal Troon.

New Zealand's Michael Campbell (63) was 12 under, and England's David Howell (67) was another stroke back.

Defending champion Ernie Els had a brief confrontation with a photographer, but kept his cool long enough to shoot a 65 and was among those four shots behind.

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