RENO, Nev. - Scott McCarron's decision to skip the British Open to host the Reno-Tahoe Open on his home course started to make a bit more sense Saturday.
McCarron shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead at 10 under through three rounds at Montreux Golf & Country Club. He birdie four of his first seven holes before chipping in for eagle on the par-5 ninth, as he bids for his fourth PGA Tour victory and first since 2001.
"It would be absolutely huge," McCarron said. "To win a tournament that you're hosting would be - I can't even describe that, so I'm not going to go there right now." Robert Garrigus, who started the day tied for the lead with Matt Bettencourt, bogeyed the 18th to finish with a 1-over 73 and slip into a tie with John Mallinger (71) at 9 under.
McCarron, a former Reno resident who now lives in LaQuinta, Calif., said it was a difficult decision to skip the British Open and serve as the host in Reno. Part of the job involves helping to secure the 12-year-old tournament a title sponsor.
"The British Open is one of my favorite tournaments and you can't win major tournaments if you're not playing them," said McCarron. "Playing St. Andrews was something that I certainly was going to miss, but I knew how important it was to the community to get behind this tournament. We need to get a title sponsor to keep this tournament going and the only way to do that, I felt, was to get more involved."
McCarron has $11.5 million in career winnings, but he's only No. 134 on this year's money list with $389,807. The last time he held a 54-hole lead was in 2002. The only other times he led after three rounds, he won the BellSouth Classic in 2001 and 1997, and the Freeport-McDermott in 1996. - AP