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Stephen Ames shoots 69 for 3-shot lead in Morocco Champions

MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) — Stephen Ames shot a 3-under 69 on Friday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the PGA Tour Champions' Morocco Champions.

Ames had a 12-under 132 total at Samanah Golf Club in the senior tour's first event in Africa.. He matched the course record with a 63 on Thursday for a four-stroke lead.

“Not a bad day. I played nice today,” Ames said. “Wasn't as much wind as yesterday on the back nine, but I think overall the pins were tucked a little bit more, obviously. But overall I think the golf course played very fair and the setup of the golf course by the officials was nicely done.”

The 55-year-old naturalized Canadian citizen from Trinidad won the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric in 2017 for his lone senior title. He won four times on the PGA Tour.

“Anytime you have a chance to win against the field that we have here this week, yeah, it's a nice opportunity,” Ames said. “I'm going to take it as it comes, learn from it and hopefully everything comes out the way I expect it to be.”

Hall of Famers Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal were tied for second with Brett Quigley. Langer and Olazabal each shot 68, with Olazabal making a hole-in-one with a 3-iron on the 208-yard 17th hole.

“The breeze was hurting a little bit, so I decided to hit a 3-iron with a little fade,” Olazabal said. “When I struck it, it looked good. When the ball bounced on the green the first time, it was pretty much online with the flag. I kept on looking at the ball and the ball looked like it was rolling straight towards the hole. At one time the ball disappeared and that was it.”

Quigley, making his second Champions start, had a 66.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Scott McCarron shot 65 to get to 8 under. He birdied three of his last five holes.

“I putted probably the worst I've putted in about a year yesterday and figured it out a little bit last night on the putting green,” McCarron said. “I putted nicely today, kept the ball in play, and 7 under's a pretty good score.”

Colin Mongomerie, Rod Pampling and Scott Parel also were 8 under. Montgomerie had a 69, and Pampling and Parel shot 68.

Associated Press

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