A decade after winning the BMW PGA Championship, Scotland’s Andrew Oldcorn is on the verge of completing a PGA double after a stunning round of 68 extended his lead at the De Vere Club PGA Seniors Championship to five strokes.
Oldcorn held off the twin threats of Argetina’s Angel Cabrera and Sir Nick Faldo at Wentworth Club ten years ago, and on the final day at De Vere Slaley Hall in Hexham, England, his sole realistic rival would appear to be his compatriot Gordon Brand Jnr, who is the only other player below par on four under.
If he can see off Brand Jnr and take the £40,000 first prize, Oldcorn would be following in the footsteps of two of the game’s greats, England’s Neil Coles and Welshman Brian Huggett, both of whom also completed the PGA double during illustrious careers on The European and Senior Tours.
In the circumstances Oldcorn’s best-of-the-day round of 68 was nothing short of exceptional, with persistent rain making life devilishly difficult. But the man from Edinburgh made light of the heavy weather to record five birdies and establish a commanding lead over Brand Jnr, who signed for a round of 69 which included an eagle at the 11th hole.
Oldcorn said: “That wasn’t particularly pleasant in the conditions, but I was delighted with the way I played. I got off to a flier with three birdies in my first four holes, then made a few silly errors and started to lose my rhythm a little bit. When the rain came it was just a case of hanging in there, but I still managed to hit a lot of good golf shots when it mattered.
“I’m obviously in a great position, but it’s a very tough course so five shots can disappear in the blink of an eye. DJ [Russell] was six ahead last year, but ended up having to come from behind to win. And I’m very well aware of what a doughty competitor Gordon is – realistically, it’s probably between us now. But I’ll be playing the course, not the man. I’ve been in this position a few before, so I know the attitude I need to adopt.
“It’s be very nice to do the PGA double. I was also five ahead at Wentworth, so hopefully that’s a good omen. I’m not sure how a win here would compare – hopefully I’ll be in a better position to answer that question tomorrow!”
Whereas Oldcorn is still searching for his first Senior Tour title Brand Jnr already has one victory under his belt, at last year’s Jersey Classic, and the 52 year old is hoping that experience will help him overhaul his fellow Scot.
Brand Jnr said: “I played the front nine very well, but just couldn’t hole any putts. Then I actually played the ninth poorly but made a par putt from 30 feet, and that seemed to get me going. I then chipped in for birdie on the tenth hole and made a great eagle on the 11th. After that the rain really started coming down which made life very tough, but I hung in well towards the end.
“Andrew’s obviously playing very well but he hasn’t won out here before, so that’s a hurdle he’ll have to overcome. All I can do is try to apply some pressure. It’s a tough course and the weather’s not meant to be great again, so it’s not going to be easy. All I can do is try to get off to a good start to try to influence him, and see how he reacts.”
The English trio of Bob Cameron, Carl Mason and Kevin Spurgeon were joined in a share of third place on level par by the Australian duo of Noel Ratcliffe and Mike Harwood.