CHAMP: Record round has Robert Karlsson sharing Regions lead with Steve Stricker

Robert Karlsson set a course record with a 9-under-par 63 to share the lead with defending champion Steve Stricker through three rounds of the Regions Tradition, the first major of the PGA Tour Champions season, on Saturday in Birmingham, Ala.

Sweden’s Karlsson, one of seven players to share the previous mark at 64, is at 16-under 200 and bidding for his first win on the PGA Tour Champions in his 60th career start.

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His round at Greystone Golf & Country Club featured an eagle at the par-5 No. 13, a bogey at the par-3 No. 14 and birdies at Nos. 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 15 and 18. The tournament record for one round is 62, last set by Brad Bryant in 2009 when the site was Sunriver in Oregon.

“There’s a lot of good players up at the top, so it’s going to be enough for me to focus on my game and try to keep what I’m doing going, and then we’ll see what happens,” said Karlsson, an 11-time winner on the European Tour but no PGA Tour victories.

Karlsson, in his third start at the Regions Tradition, is 0-for-3 when holding or sharing a lead going into the final round of a PGA Tour Champions event. He’s a four-time runner-up.

“Over the last few months, I’ve been working quite a bit,” said Karlsson, who has been working with swing coach Mark Blackburn, based out of the Greystone Performance Center. “Even though I haven’t put it together, I’ve seen sort of signs — at least I’ve seen the signs, even though it has felt horrible at times.”

Stricker is entering the fourth round at this event for the fourth straight time with at least a share of the lead, after being alone at the top of the leaderboard the past three occasions.

He carded a 64 with a bogey-free round highlighted by eight birdies, including on the final four holes. Stricker shot a 30 on the back nine.

Stricker seeks to be the fifth different player to successfully defend the event’s title, following Jack Nicklaus (1990-91; 1995-96), Gil Morgan (1997-98), Tom Lehman (2011-12) and Bernhard Langer (2016-17).

Padraig Harrington of Ireland is in third place, two strokes back at 14 under after a 65 on Saturday. He has had top-7 finishes in three of four starts this season.

England’s Paul Broadhurst (68) is at 13 under, and 2021 Regions Tradition champion Alex Cejka (67) of Germany is tied for fifth at 12 under with Timothy O’Neal (68) and Jerry Kelly (67).

–Field Level Media

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