Cole Madey clings to lead heading into final round of 24th Sahalee Players Championship

Cole Madey

Sammamish, Wash. - On a day that saw vaunted Sahalee bare its teeth, PNGA Player of the Year Cole Madey of West Linn, Ore. watched his four-shot lead dwindle to one by the end of today's third round. But the UCLA sophomore overcame two bogeys on the back nine to hold on to the top spot of the 24th Sahalee Players Championship, being held at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash. and administered by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association.

Madey carded a 1-over-par 73 on a day that saw the wind swirling through the towering trees along with some diabolical hole locations that mirrored the 1998 PGA Championship and other majors played at Sahalee.

"It was a lot tougher than yesterday," said the 2017 Oregon Amateur champion, who began today's third round with a 4-shot lead in the elite amateur championship. "It got really firm, fast and unforgiving, but I'm happy to be sleeping on the lead heading into the final round."

Nathan Barbieri
Nathan Barbieri

Australian Nathan Barbieri came roaring out of the gate, making eagle on the par-5 second hole and carding two more birdies on the front nine to tie Madey at the turn with a scintillating 4-under-par 32.

"I felt really good from the beginning and just tried to stay in a groove," Barbieri said.

But the back nine would be a different story, as Barbieri bogeyed two of the first three holes to post a two-under par 70 on the day and slip one shot behind Madey heading into Wednesday's final round.

But it's far from a two-man race. Incoming UC Berkeley freshman James Song of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. and Pepperdine standout Joshua McCarthy of Danville, Calif. lurk just three shots behind the lead after both posted identical 1-under par 71s to enter the final round at 4-under-par.

McCarthy had the low round of the day going when a birdie at the 544-yard par-5 11th took him to 5-under-par. But two straight bogeys would halt his rise, and a double-bogey on the short par-4 16th would send him sliding back to 4-under par.

"Anything can happen Wednesday," said tournament director Kevin White. "The course will be tough but fair, so whoever takes the trophy is going to have to earn it. And we've got at least seven guys with a legitimate chance."

The 69-player field of the world's best college and junior players begin play in the final round at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, with the winners expected to tee off at 11:40 am. The championship is free and open to the public. An awards ceremony will follow on the 18th green immediately after the conclusion of play.

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