DES MOINES, Iowa — Doug Garwood sent his approach on the 18th hole into the sand and sighed.
He was able to joke about it after nearly holing his bunker shot and saving par for a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke lead Saturday in the Champions Tour’s Principal Charity Classic.
“I hit the classic fat shot that the unknown leader hits on 18,” Garwood said. “And then after that it was a pretty simple sand shot and I hit it close.”
The 51-year-old Garwood, making his fourth start of the year and ninth in two years on the 50-and-over tour, had an 11-under 133 total at Wakonda Club.
Garwood is a conditionally exempt after blowing a chance to earn a full card when he bogeyed three of his final four holes in the qualifying tournament.
If he wins, he’ll earn full status for the next year.
“I’ve never been in this position before,” Garwood said. “I think what I usually do is I just try to play golf. I set a score, a goal for my round, and I just try to focus on one shot at a time and achieving that. The rest of the time, I can’t control what the other guys do. I’m sure I’ll be nervous. But that’s part of the deal.”
Last year, he tied for second in the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. His best finish this year is a tie for 25th in the Allianz Championship in February.
Michael Allen, the Allianz winner, was second after a 66. Mark Calcavecchia and Tom Pernice Jr. were 9 under. Calcavecchia had a 69, and Pernice shot 67.
Allen has six career Champions Tour wins, and he pushed himself into a tie for the lead with a birdie putt from the fringe on the par-3 14th hole.
Allen’s shot delighted the fans in the grandstand because it meant that beers would be half-price for half an hour — and Allen joined in the fun by pretending to chug one after sinking his putt.
Allen made three straight birdies on the back nine — and missed three other birdie putts that were within inches of going in.
“Win, win, win,” Allen said when asked about his mindset for the final round. “I’ve got to keep putting well.”
The second round was delayed for 1 hour, 19 minutes because of lightning in the area, though the conditions remained calm throughout the stoppage in play.
The delay didn’t bother Chien Soon Lu, who stuck a 60-foot approach to 15 feet on No. 18 once play resumed. Lu then made a right-to-left putt to move into a temporary tie for the lead.
Lu was 8 under along with Joe Durant (67), John Riegger (68) and Wes Short Jr. (70).