Colin Montgomerie takes a three shot lead into the final round of the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters but with another breezy day in prospect at Woburn Golf Club, who will prevail?
Scotland’s Montgomerie, a prolific winner of 31 European Tour titles and a record eight Order of Merits during a stellar career on the regular Tour, is looking for a maiden victory in just his third appearance since joining the European Senior Tour after turning 50 in June.
Consecutive rounds of 68 have put Montgomerie in a commanding position – three shots clear of England’s Carl Mason – with 18 holes to play over the Duke’s Course at Woburn, a venue which has yielded much success for the leader over the years without ever being able to quite close out the victory.
He was runner-up to Bob May in the 1999 British Masters and finished third at Woburn the following year to go with a further two top ten finishes here earlier in the 1990s.
Montgomerie’s arrow straight-driving suits the often narrow, tree-lined layout and there was also some exemplarary iron-play on Saturday as he peppered the flags around the turn to card six successive birdies from the eighth.
If he completes the mission today and wins his first professional tournament since the 2007 European Open at the K Club, Montgomerie would become the third rookie to win in 2013, and incidentally the third in a row after Denmark’s Steen Tinning captured the Berenberg Masters and Spaniard Santiago Luna returned victorious at the SSE Scottish Senior Open two weeks ago.
Triumph for Montgomerie would also continue the recent spate of first-time winners on the Senior Tour, a trend that has seen five players already win their first events so far in 2013.
But lurking ominously in the background is Mason, not only the most successful player in the history of the European Senior Tour with 25 victories, but already a two-time winner of this event, won in back-to-back years from 2006-07.
If Mason overturns the three-shot deficit, it would be his first victory since the 2011 Benahvis Senior Masters and at a gap of 18 events, would be the longest period between wins in his Senior Tour career.
The 60 year old has been nothing short of prolific over the years.
This would be the fourth time Mason would have won the same Senior Tour event three times after the PGA Seniors Championship (2004, ’07, ’09), the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open (2007, ’08, ’10) and the English Senior Open (2003, ’04, ’06).
Scotland’s Ross Drummond, meanwhile, just a shot further back on four under par and one of the most consistent players on the Senior Tour in the last six seasons, is looking to finally win his first event having finished inside the top ten on 34 occasions.
With the swirling Woburn winds set to gust up to 18 miles per hour during Sunday afternoon there could still well be a victor coming from even further back so do not discount the challenges of Luis Carbonetti and Miguel Angel Martin, who start five back on three under par.
Argentina’s Carbonetti of course has previous around here, having won back in 2004, while Spain’s Martin, who finished tied fifth at Woburn last year, is in a rich vein of form having finished fourth and seventh in his last two appearances on the Senior Tour.
Superb crowds are again expected to take to the Duke’s Course for what promises to be a thrilling denouement to the 13th edition of the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters and a fitting conclusion to the 30th event to be staged between The European Tour and Woburn Golf Club.