JOPLIN, Mo. - Today will be a learning experience for rookie Blaine Peffley.
The former Maryland Terp holds a one-stroke lead over Ireland's Gareth Maybin heading into today's final round of the Loma Linda Classic presented by Zimmer Radio Group.
“Tomorrow will be my first experience in front as a pro,” said Peffley, who had a 2-under 69 during Saturday's round. “It will definitely be a learning experience for me.”
Peffley, who turned pro in April, is at 12-under 201.
“Mentally things were challenging today,” he said. “I couldn't hit the fairway with my driver until No. 11, and then when I hit it down the middle I didn't look back.”
Maybin, the runner-up last week in Rogers, Ark., carded a 2-under 69 on Saturday and now stands at 11-under par 202. He also had his struggles.
“I didn't hit any good shots until No. 5,” Maybin said. “I've got some putting work to do today. The greens have firmed up some.
“Tomorrow will be fun. The last few weeks I've been slumping going into Sunday but this time I'm only I shot back and I'm very happy.”
Bryant MacKellar, who had led the first two rounds, slipped into a third-place tie after struggling to a 2-over round Saturday.
MacKellar, Casey Crain and Grover Justice stand two strokes behind Peffley at 10-under par 203 after firing 73, 69 and 68, respectively.
“I hit the ball above the hole on the back nine and didn't have a chance to get up and down,” MacKellar said. “I just hit it in places today that I shouldn't have.”
The final round begins today at 8 a.m., with the leaders going off No. 1 at 9:39 a.m.
The total purse for the Loma Linda Classic is $200,000, with $33,566 going to the winner.