Ten years ago, Mark Hensby was sleeping in his car on the range at Cog Hill Golf Club, killing time until he could go home to Australia.
Now look at him.
Hensby shot a bogey-free 67 at his old haunt yesterday, giving him a share of the third-round lead at the Western Open in Lemont, Ill. Stephen Ames (64) joined him at 9-under 204, and both will be looking for their first PGA Tour victory today.
"One night I woke up and my toes were frozen because it was so cold," Hensby said, smiling at the memory. "So I used to drive around the block with the heater on, then go back to sleep. For some people it sounds outrageous. To me, it wasn't that big a deal."
Ames and Hensby better watch their backs, though, because Tiger Woods is making a move. A day after flirting with the cut, Woods rebounded with a 6-under 65 to pull within four shots of the lead. Jim Furyk (68), playing his second tournament since wrist surgery in March, is also four back, as is Illinois golf coach Mike Small (69).
Geoff Ogilvy (68) is one stroke behind the leaders. Stuart Appleby (67) and second-round co-leader Steve Lowery (70) are tied for fourth at two strokes back.
"I have a chance," Woods said. "That's what I wanted to do is go out there and play well enough where at least I have a chance going into Sunday. Now if I play a very similar round like I did today, you never know."
Hensby came to the United States from rural Australia in 1994, hoping to make it as a golfer. He stayed with some friends of friends in the Chicago suburbs, won the Illinois Amateur and pinned his hopes on Q-school.
But he fell short in the second round. With his host family already gone and his departure date for Australia still a few weeks away, Hensby didn't have many options. So he pulled his car up to the range at Cog Hill and slept there.
"When you grow up where I grew up in Australia, it wasn't that big a deal," he said.
People around here still remember him, so they were thrilled with his finish Saturday. Starting the day a stroke off the lead, Hensby made three birdies on the front nine and a fourth on the par-5 15th to charge to the top.
He had to scramble on his last two holes to stay there, making two beautiful up-and-downs that had fellow Aussie and playing partner Ogilvy calling him "Seve Hensby."
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: The last time Jerry Pate led a golf tournament heading into the final round he was using an orange ball and the 1980s were just getting started.
Twenty-three years and four shoulder surgeries later, Pate is in that same position.
He shot a 4-under 66 -- using a white ball, of course -- and his 130 total gave him a two-stroke lead over Bobby Wadkins after two rounds of the Long Island Classic in East Meadow, N.Y.
Pate and Wadkins started the day in a three-way tie for the lead with Peter Jacobsen.
"I'm fired up. The hardest thing is to be patient and not get emotional about playing again," said Pate, who birdied two of the final three holes to draw into a tie with Wadkins, who capped his 68 with a double-bogey on the par-4 18th.
* EUROPE: U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen shot a par-72, cutting his lead to one stroke after three rounds in Straffan, Ireland, at the European Open.