The $1-million New England Classic turned into a gallery love-in Saturday when Brad Faxon, the hometown favorite, and Roger Maltbie, a popular former champion, played to a tie for the lead.
Paired together in the final group, Faxon, 30, and Maltbie, 41, drew a huge gallery as they mixed good shots with some adventures in the forests over the 7,110-yard, par-71 Pleasant Valley Country Club course in Sutton, Mass.
"Hey Roger, don't lose your check this time," fans hollered, referring to Maltbie's victory 17 years ago, when he misplaced his $40,000 winner's check in a bar where he was celebrating the championship.
"Attaboy, Brad," Faxon partisans shouted from a gallery sprinkled with the Rhode Island native's friends and relatives.
Maltbie made two bogeys over the last five holes to lose sole possession of the lead. He led by as many as four shots during the third round but was in the enviable position of being able to call his two-under-par 69 his worst round of the week.
Faxon came from two shots behind by shooting a four-under 67 to tie Maltbie at 13-under 200 for the tournament.
Faxon had to calm himself amid his raucous supporters.
"You've got to guard against being too pumped up," Faxon said. "On the back nine today I took some extra time with the shots. . . . I had a good time today. They're not just pulling for one guy."
Australian Craig Parry, who led this year's Masters after three rounds before fading, was alone at 12 under after a 67. Bunched at 11 under were Wayne Levi, Lance Ten Broeck, British Open runner-up John Cook and Lon Hinkle, and the group at 10 under included David Peoples, Ted Schulz, Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson.
Jimmy Powell shot an eight-under-par 64 to take a two-shot lead over Rocky Thompson and Jim O'Hern after two rounds of the $400,000 Newport Cup, the senior tour event at the Newport Country Club in Rhode Island.
Powell had eight birdies during a bogey-free round that gave him a 36-hole score of 12-under 132. Thompson shot a 65 and O'Hern a 67, both standing at 134 after two tours of the 6,722-yard links course, site of the first U.S. Amateur and Open in 1895.
"I've struck the ball real well for the last two days," said Powell, 57. "I think it's going to take a real good score Sunday to win if this good weather keeps up."
Tommy Aycock shot a 68 that left him at 135. Phil Rodgers, with a 70, was at 136, along with Jim Dent, who shot 69, and Tom Shaw, who had a 67.
Bob Charles of New Zealand and Neil Coles of England each shot one-over-par 72s in the rain to share the lead after 54 holes of the $380,000 British Senior Open at London.
Charles and Coles, who were at one-under 212 after three tours of the Royal Lytham course, were helped by the misfortunes of Michael Noon, the 36-hole leader who lost six strokes to par over the last five holes on the way to a 76.
Noon, an amateur, had a two-stroke lead beginning Saturday's round, but his 76 dropped him to 214, two back of Charles and Coles and tied with Arnold Palmer, who shot a 72.
Tommy Horton of England shot a 69 to move within a stroke of the lead at 213. He was joined at that figure by Joel Hirsch (70), South African John Fourie (71) and England's Peter Butler (72).