A five under par front nine of 30 shots – including an eagle at the seventh – helped Bernhard Langer soar into a three shot lead during the third round of The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Turnberry.
With winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour at times, scoring was proving difficult for many of the 76 players that made the weekend in Ayrshire, as Langer capitalised on overnight leader Gary Hallberg’s struggles to take a commanding lead at the 26th Senior Open.
Having led by three shots after Friday’s second round, Hallberg made five bogeys in a front nine 38 to slip back to three under par for the tournament, while Langer, winner of the last Senior Open to be held on Scottish soil at Carnoustie in 2010, made four birdies and an eagle to turn in 30 blows before a second bogey of the day at the short 11th saw him pegged back to seven under par.
America’s Fred Couples matched the German’s front nine 30 in an impressive showing of his own, with his only dropped shot so far on Saturday coming at the tough par four 14th and the 1992 Masters Champion was sitting in a tie for second at four under par, three shy of Langer’s lead and alongside 2011 Senior Tour Number One Peter Fowler, who was the only man to have not made a bogey all day as the third round progressed.
One shot further back at three under par was England’s Barry Lane, second in the Senior Tour Order of Merit in 2011, who made impressive strides up the leaderboard too thanks to a four under par 66.
Lane has a notable record in Scotland, having won the 1988 Scottish Open and the last two Scottish Senior Open Championships.
“I love the golf, I love the atmosphere,” said a satisfied Lane. “The people are fantastic and they always give me a warm welcome.
“I like it windy and I've got pretty good imagination for chipping around. I like to be able to play when the courses are like this, when you have to figure out whether you're going to hook it or cut it etc. Obviously if you're not playing well, it's not good, but if you're playing well, it's great fun.”
The evergreen Tom Watson also made one of the significant moves of the day, as the three-time Senior Open Champion signed for a four under par 66 to get back to level par for the tournament, and this after starting with a double bogey earlier on Saturday.