Friday, 19 March 2010
The 138th Open Championship - Round Three  (Getty Images)
The 138th Open Championship - Round Three (Getty Images)

Tom Watson's remarkable attempt to become the oldest ever winner of a Major championship continued unabated at Turnberry during The Open Championship third round.

At the start of the week a victory for 59 year old Watson looked unlikely, but the five time champion remained in the driving seat in his bid to become comfortably the oldest Major champion, surpassing Julius Boros, who was 48 when he won the 1968 US PGA Championship.

Watson won his second Claret Jug at Turnberry in 1977 and also led at the halfway stage the last time The Open was staged here in 1994.

On that occasion he was still just one shot off the lead with 18 holes to play, but stumbled to a closing 74 to drop into a tie for 11th and called it the "most disappointing tournament I've ever had”.

"I was playing so well from tee to green and I just absolutely struggled on the greens," Watson recalled. "And I have to say that that was about the most disappointing tournament I've ever had, when I really, really felt that I could win that tournament from day one. The putter totally let me down."

So far this week nothing has let Watson down, least of all the putter with which he holed massive birdie putts on the 16th and 18th in the second round to help rescue his round after being four over through seven holes.

And all departments of his game were working well once more in the third round as he opened with five straight pars, saving par on the third and fifth after finding sand.

Turnberry's deep bunkers finally cost Watson a bogey on the sixth, but he promptly made a straight-forward birdie on the next, showing no signs of feeling the pressure or even the after-effects of hip replacement surgery in October last year.

For once he was upstaged by playing partner Steve Marino however, who had dropped five shots in four holes before smashing a fairway wood to within three feet of the flag on the 538 yard par five seventh to set up an eagle three.

A three putt bogey at the ninth dropped Watson back to four under par, one ahead of England's Ross Fisher.

Fisher, who had covered the front nine in 35 with one birdie and one bogey on his card, insists he is willing to quit The Open at any time if his wife Jo goes into labour with their first child.

Six players were a shot further back in third, including Marino, Lee Westwood and Retief Goosen, Westwood currently level par for his round after 13 holes.

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