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Ricardo Gonzalez shoots record 63 to seize Galleri Classic lead

Ricardo Gonzalez shoots record 63 to seize Galleri Classic lead

Six weeks ago, Ricardo Gonzalez was a solid senior golfer, but not even a full member of the PGA Tour Champions. On Sunday, Gonzalez will have a chance for his second win on the Champions tour.

A victory in February at the Trophy Hassan II earned Gonzalez full membership on the senior tour. In Saturday’s second round of the Galleri Classic, Gonzalez fired a remarkable 9-under 63 in the uncharacteristic rain, wind and cold of Rancho Mirage to take the lead of another PGA Tour Champions event.

“I played I think one of my best rounds on the tour, and so happy to make a (course) record,” Gonzalez said after breaking the Dinah Shore Tournament Course record of 65 set by several players in the inaugural Galleri Classic last year. “Played with two great men like Vijay (Singh) and Stephen Ames and enjoyed. Enjoy the key to make under par.”

Gonzalez enters Sunday’s final round of the senior event at 11-under 133, good for a one-shot lead over Steven Alker and Retief Goosen, who both again displayed strong play on the Shore Course.

The runner-up to David Toms in last year’s inaugural event, Alker shot a 68 on a day when the forecasted heavy rain never hit the Coachella Valley. Instead, temperatures hovered in the upper 50s and swirling winds made conditions colder and more difficult.

Goosen, third in last year’s event, also shot 68 with a 5-under 31 in some of the toughest conditions of the day on the back nine. With defending champion Toms tied for fourth at 8-under with Alex Cejka, the top three players from the 2023 tournament in Rancho Mirage are among the top five players entering Sunday’s final round of the $2.2 million event.

“What course was he playing?” Alker joked about Gonzalez’s round.

“I think he was first off, wasn’t he?” laughed Goosen. “Second group off, so he got lucky with the weather, yeah.”

Tee times for the final round will be moved up only slightly Sunday to 8:10 a.m. for the first groups off the first and 10th tee and the final group will start at 10:15 a.m.

A light rain started falling on the course about 20 minutes before the lead group of Goosen, Alker and Cejka teed off at 10:11 a.m. While there were bouts of harder rain and strong winds, Alker felt the day was playable.



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