Fate finally might be on Scott Piercy's side.
The Bonanza High School graduate happened to be home this week as his third child was being born. Had Piercy been playing golf anywhere else, he likely wouldn't be in a position to win his first PGA Tour event because he would have withdrawn to be with his wife, Sara, when she gave birth late Thursday night to Jett, the Piercys' third son.
But Piercy is in Las Vegas, and he was able to be there for the baby's birth and still play golf. And if he can hold it together for one more round, he could be the first local in the 27-year history of the event to win in his hometown and make $756,000.
Piercy and another golfer with local ties, former UNLV star Chad Campbell, are tied at 17 under par heading into today's final round of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and will be paired together in the final group at TPC Summerlin.
"It's definitely been a roller coaster," Piercy said after his 6-under-par 65 gave him a share of the lead. "I think emotionally, it wears you down. I'm trying to stay calm and play solid. But it's not easy."
And it won't be easy. Piercy and Campbell have plenty of company. Martin Laird is a shot back at 16 under. George McNeill, the 2007 winner when it was the Frys.com Open, is two shots back at 15 under. So are Bob Heintz, Jeff Klauk and Jason Bohn. In all, 13 players are four or fewer shots out of the lead, including former Rebels Charley Hoffman at 14 under and Ryan Moore at 13 under.
The key for Piercy is avoiding bogeys. Through 54 holes, he has made just three.
"My caddie (Darren Willard) told me at the beginning of the week, 'You don't make a bogey, you will win,' " Piercy said. "So I'm trying not to make any bogeys."
Willard, a childhood friend of Piercy's who attended Clark High School, has been a calming influence this week.
"(Friday) when I was emotionally down and trying to kick it into overdrive and stay level-headed, he said, 'Come on, come on,' " Piercy said. "He knows what to say. He knows me, and he knows my game. I trust a lot of what he says."
He nearly finished his round in spectacular fashion, just missing making a 45-foot putt at No. 18 that would have given him sole possession of the lead.
"I thought for sure it was going in," Piercy said. "But 6 under and a share of the lead, I'll take it."
Piercy was in this same position two weeks ago. He had a share of the lead at Turning Stone headed into the final round. But he imploded and finished with a 1-over 73 and had to settle for 12th place.
"I missed five putts inside of 8 feet," Piercy said. "As a tour player, you're expected to make four of those. You make four putts, you're tied for first. If you make all five, you win.
"I worked on my putting when I came home. The putter has been a little better this week. If I hit it like I did in New York and the putter keeps rolling, then I might have what we want."
Campbell was sailing along with the lead at 18 under through 15 holes. He had made an eagle at the par-4 12th, where he holed out from 139 yards with a wedge. He followed with a birdie at the par-5 13th and another birdie at the par-4 15th.
Then disaster struck.
He hit a decent tee shot at No. 16, then tried to stick his second shot from 160 yards, only to find the water.
"I actually wasn't going for the flag, but I was aiming to go 20 feet to the right of the hole," Campbell said. "But I pulled it toward the pin and low."
He took a drop and wound up overshooting the green. Campbell eventually made double bogey on the hole and fell out of the lead. It snapped a streak of 40 consecutive holes without a bogey for Campbell.
He made par at the par-3 17th and then finished with a birdie at 18.
"I've played enough golf to know you've got to forget about it and move on," Campbell said of his double bogey. "I actually hit a great tee shot at 17, but it was almost too good. So I felt like I was OK. Then I hit a great second shot at 18 and made birdie.
"Sure, it would be nice to have the lead by myself. But overall, I'm decently happy with the round. It's nice to end on a birdie. Hopefully it gives me a little momentum."
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913.