Just before 3 p.m. Saturday, the clock almost struck midnight for the Cinderella story of the PGA Web.com’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.
Almost being the key word.
Mark Baldwin salvaged par on the par-5 18 after his approach shot sliced into the water hazard and somehow bounced up to the bank of the ninth hole.
And yet as the final round of the PCCC opens at 9 a.m. Sunday at Highland Springs Country Club, Baldwin is sitting only three strokes back of leader Mark Trainer.
You see, Baldwin hit his third shot back up to the back of the ninth green, knocked a 60-yard pitch over the water and past the flag stick, then sank a 15-foot putt.
The comeback leaves Baldwin at 18-under par 198. Trainer is at 21-under par 195 following a torrid front nine, and Steven Ihm climbed into second with a 63, leaving him at 19-under.
However, all eyes were on Baldwin, a 34-year-old Web.com Tour rookie who entered this week at No. 144 on the money list and who had missed 12 cuts this season.
“I get up there (to the bank) and it’s at a 70-degree angle, pitched straight back into the water and it’s hanging by a little, teeny blade of grass,” Baldwin said. “And I am creeping up to the thing and thinking, ‘Any moment, a gust of wind could come, or I might breath the wrong way, and that ball rolls back into the water.’”
From there, Baldwin – his back to the 18th green – pitched the ball up to the ninth green, took relief on the fringe (a penalty-free drop) and then took aim at the flag stick again.
“I had no idea, really, just a pure guess as to what the distance was off a really tight fringe lie – probably tighter than most people play on Saturday and Sunday,” Baldwin said. “It was the luckiest, fun par I’ve ever made. It felt like an eagle.”
SUNRISE SERVICE AT 7:30 AM
Meet us on the 18th green for a Sunrise Service at 7:30 AM Sunday. Chalmer Harper of 88.3 the Wind will play music, with Pastor Michael Overton from First Baptist Church giving a short message!
WEAR BLUE FOR
GO BLUE FORE AUTISM
Be sure to wear blue on the final day of the tournament, which for the fourth consecutive year is the ‘Go Blue for Autism’ Championship Sunday. What a great showcase it has been for The Arc of the Ozarks, which again will decorate the course in blue and have a blue tent set up near the 18th fairway – with blue treats to be given away. Kick back furniture provided by the At Home Store.
Since joining the PCCC 14 years ago, The Arc of the Ozarks has turned its PCCC donations toward covering costs of 100 kids in its No Limits Summer Camp. The kiddos have been able to travel to Table Rock Lake, the Dickerson Park Zoo as well as dance and music therapy sessions. Some 62 percent of campers have been diagnosed with autism,
WIN THIS FORD F-150 STX
OR $10,000 IN
TLC PROPERTIES CHARITY SWEEPSTAKES
Tickets remain available for the grand prizes of the TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes — a Ford F-150 STX or $10,000. They’ll be drawn following play on the 18th green on Championship Sunday.
HOW TRAINER RE-TOOK THE LEAD
Trainer re-took the lead Sunday, thanks to seven birdies – five on the front nine – and overcoming a bogey on No. 4.
His approach shot on 18 actually hit the mesh netting of the skybox, but his 40-foot putt positioned him close enough for a manageable putt for par. He had taken the lead on No. 3 and took a two-stroke advantage into the turn.
That came as Ihm, who was three groups ahead, was closing fast. Ihm carded a 63 thanks to eight birdies.
“Yeah, I checked the scoreboard, and I saw how they were doing, and they were playing great,” said Trainer, a Frenchman who is No. 24 on the money list who, before Friday, had failed to break 70 after posting a 64 round. “Ultimately, I’m just over the ball and I’m trying to hit it and I’m trying to make a birdie. What difference does it make if I’m in in first, third or 10th?”
Meanwhile, Alex Prugh and Chad Ramey are at 17-under, just ahead of Henrick Norlander, Lee McCoy and Willy Wilcox.
The Junior ROTC of Ozark High School will march the U.S. & Missouri flags to the No. 1 tee box, and Sgt. First Class SFC D. Austin Parks of the Lamar-based Army National Guard will man the flag stick on the 18th green for Championship Sunday.