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Perry Takes Over First Place in Regions Tradition


Kenny Perry carded a 3-under 69 to take over the leaderboard's top spot in the Regions Tradition. The $2.2 million event, the Champions Tour's first major of the year, is taking place at Shoal Creek near Birmingham, Ala.

Perry, the reigning Charles Schwab Cup champion, had four birdies and a bogey Saturday for a 54-hole total of 7-under 209, a stroke ahead of fellow American John Inman, who posted seven birdies and a bogey for Saturday's low round of 6-under 66.

Perry hasn't won since last October's AT&T Championship, mainly because he hasn't found a driver to replace a valuable club that was damaged during transit from New York to Seattle for last August's Boeing Classic.

"I've struggled ever since," said Perry, who's won five times on the Champions Tour, including two major titles in 2013. "I did win the AT&T at the end of last year to hang on and win the Charles Schwab Cup, but I didn't really play great and I haven't played very well this year either.

"I've been fighting driver woes, so hopefully this is a turn in the right direction and this driver's going to solve my problems."

Inman was very pleased with his outing. "I just hit a lot of solid shots," the 51-year-old North Carolinian told reporters. "I didn't drive the ball as well as I would have liked, but when I drove it in the rough, I just hit some miraculous shots."

Among those tied for third at 4-under 212 is Mark Calcavecchia. After coming off two straight 69s to take the halfway lead, the 53-year-old Calcavecchia - a two-time winner on the Champions Tour who hasn't tasted victory since the 2012 Montreal Championship - shot a 73.

Also at 4-under are Jeff Maggert (69), Tom Pernice Jr. (70), Olin Browne (72), John Cook (71), Steve Elkington (71) and Jay Haas (73).

Calcavecchia, who had a birdie and two bogeys on the front nine, saw his round come undone when he double-bogeyed the par-5 11th. "Two wrong clubs and a chunk wedge in the water on 11, that's two bogeys and a double," lamented Calcavecchia, who managed to stay in contention for the final round with a birdie on the par-5 17th. "I actually hung in there pretty good for that."

Trailing Perry by four strokes is Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, who posted a 69, while five behind are Rocco Mediate (69), defending champion David Frost (71), Bernhard Langer (70) and Jeff Sluman (71).

One of the pre-tournament favorites, Fred Couples, continued his struggles at Shoal Creek. The 54-year-old has carded rounds of 74, 77 and 73 and is now at 8-over 224 and tied for 50th heading into Sunday of the no-cut tournament.

For complete scoring details, visit http://www.pgatour.com/champions/leaderboard.html.