Going into the 18th hole, Jason Caron was delighted at the prospect of being paired with Tom Carter in today's final round.
Caron needed a birdie on the last hole to be matched with Carter, a regular practice partner.
But after sinking a 25-foot eagle putt, Caron will instead be paired with co-leader Spike McRoy today in the Nationwide Tour Mark Christopher Charity Classic at Empire Lakes in Rancho Cucamonga.
"I wasn't thinking eagle there, I was just trying to get it somewhat close," said Caron, whose putt elicited warm applause from the spectators. "It just kept trickling down there and snuck in the corner."
Caron said he did not play the round aggressively. But he made up for it with precision, with 13 pars and one bogey.
"I'm just trying to stay positive and play patient golf," said Caron, whose top performance on the tour is a 13th-place finish at the Rex Hospital Open in May. "If a win happens, it happens."
After a three-over 74 in the opening round, McRoy rebounded to shoot 63 and 65 in the middle two rounds on the par-71 course. He momentarily took sole possession of the lead with a birdie on the par-three 17th hole.
McRoy shot a bogey-free round but has been streaky this year, having split the season between the Nationwide and PGA tours. He said having two weeks off to relax with his three children has aided his play on the weekend.
"Sometimes distractions are a good thing," said McRoy, an Alabama native. "The hard part is taking your range game out there to the golf course and trusting yourself out there."
Trust was also a focal point with Jeff Klauk, who is tied with Carter at one stroke behind the leaders. Klauk could be heard barking the mantra "trust yourself," after shots he found disdainful.
"This year has been very frustrating, but I can turn that all around tomorrow," said Klauk, who has battled back injuries.
On a hazy day, the course tended to play tougher in the afternoon when the greens firmed up and the wind came into play.
Klauk had five birdies in a seven-hole span to finish at six-under 65; Carter concluded with four birdies on the final six holes.
"I've hit it pretty consistent all three days," Carter said. "It's always going to come down to making putts, but I think anything can happen."
Troy Matteson, the Nationwide Tour's money leader, David Branshaw and Jaxon Brigman are two strokes behind the leaders.