Many days on the golf course, Zach Sucher can be found picking his way through the woods, or deploying his ball retriever to rescue a stray from a water hazard.
Sucher, who was a Nationwide Tour member in 2011, does not pay for equipment. He plays yellow Srixon golf balls. But the act of hunting other golfers' stray shots has become a habit. He throws some of his finds in a shag bag and gives the rest away.
"So many Titleist Pro V1s out here," Sucher said. "I basically give them to people who use those."
Through three rounds of the Palmetto Hall Championship, the eGolf Professional Tour's season-opener, Sucher has found few chances to visit the trouble spots. His precision off the tee Friday helped him navigate a difficult Robert Cupp course at Palmetto Hall Golf Club and sent him into today's final round at 9-under par for the tournament and alone in the lead.
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Hilton Head Island resident Chris Epperson is tied for seventh at 7 under after a third-round 69. The final group tees off on the Cupp course this morning at 9:30 a.m.
Two players -- Chris Baker and Jay McLuen -- reached 11 under before Friday's round. Both find themselves now chasing Sucher.
Baker did not card a birdie during the third round. His bogey on No. 17 left him a shot off Sucher's pace, at 8 under for the tournament.
"Play a good round (today) like the first two days, we'll be fine," Baker said. "If it gets to a shootout, it'd be fun."
Changing winds added difficulty to the round, Sucher said. After driving into the wind, sometimes players found their second shots going downwind.
Canadian Cam Burke fell victim to the trickery after reaching 10 under through 16. He finished double bogey-bogey and is two shots back. But after the leaders slid, Burke faces a smaller deficit than he did to begin Friday.
"Nobody did anything today, really, just stayed around where the number was, actually moved back," Burke said. "So it's disappointing, because I had it going pretty good on what I felt like was a tough day."
Roger Sloan, a Canadian Tour member, is among five players at 8-under par. The Canadian Tour schedule does not start until June, and so Sloan decided to rent a hotel room for two weeks and start the year on the eGolf Tour. He will play the Oldfield Open next week.
Sloan reached 10 under for the tournament after 10 holes Friday. Three bogeys in four holes on the back nine brought him back.
"I was a little disappointed," he said. "I had some squirrely shots coming in."
Sucher made birdies on Nos. 11, 15 and the difficult par-3 16th on the way in. He credited his driver, which he said failed him when he missed the cut at this event in 2011.
Sucher will have a chance to again tame the Cupp course today.
"It's a really good golf course," he said. "It really comes down to your driver. If you can keep it in play off the tee and hit a bunch of fairways out there, you can start to make birdies."