Irwin eyes record at Valhalla

5/29/2011 8:56:43 AM
Roger Chapman   (Getty Images)
Roger Chapman (Getty Images)

Hale Irwin is looking to become the oldest winner of the US Senior PGA Championship in history as he goes into the final round tied for the lead chasing his fifth title.

Irwin won the last of his four US Senior PGA titles at Valhalla and looked to be heading for a two shot lead until he double bogeyed the last to fall back into a tie with Japan’s Kiyoshi Murota on nine under par 207.

England’s Roger Chapman is the leading European but lies a distant ten strokes off the pace at one over par 217 after a third round 74. South African David Frost is on the same mark after a 69.

Ireland's Des Smyth, who started the week so well with an opening 70, slipped down the laaderboard with a 76 to lie in a group at three over par 219 that included Mark McNulty (77) and Welshman Mark Mouland (72).

Irwin, who turns 66 next week, is aiming to beat the previous record held by Jock Hutchison, who was aged 62 when he won in 1947.

Tom Watson is just one shot back after a four under par 68 on moving day, while Trevor Dodds tied for low round of the day with Jeff Sluman – with a five under 67 and is three behind.

“I enjoy beating people,” said Watson, who at age 61 could become the second-oldest Senior PGA Champion of all time. “I enjoy the competition. I enjoy getting in the hunt and having a chance to win a golf tournament. And that's me. It defines me. And that's what I do for my career.”

Eleven players are within five shots of the lead, including Nick Price at six under and alone in fifth place, Tom Lehman and Loren Roberts, both five under and tied for sixth. All three of those great champions are in the thick of battle.