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Friday, 19 March 2010
Ireland's Liam Higgins believes he has a new golf ball to thank for his share of the lead heading into the final round of the Lawrence Batley Seniors tournament at Huddersfield.

Higgins, 58, from Waterville, has used hard golf balls for most of his life but has just switched to the new Srixon Hi-Spin ball with dramatic affect.

During the second round the Irishman recorded a four under par 68 that included a homeward half of 32 to go into the final round tied alongside America's Jay Dolan III and first round leader, Maurice Bembridge, on three under par 139.

Dolan, the winner of last year’s European Seniors Tour Qualifying School at the PGA de Catalunya, Spain, also recorded a 68 while Bembridge added a two over par 73 to his opening 66.

"Last week I decided that the time had come to switch to a softer ball and I've got to admit I don't regret the decision," said Higgins, whose third and last victory on the European Seniors Tour came at the Lexus Trophy in Zurich back in 1995.

"It took me a while to get used to the feel of the ball on the greens but now that I have done that I feel very confident with it. In fact, I can't wait for the final round to get started."

Higgins, Bembridge and Dolan go into the final round a single stroke ahead of the evergreen Neil Coles and two shots ahead of England's Malcolm Gregson and Nick Job.

Just behind them, Ireland’s Denis O’Sullivan, winner of last week’s Palmerston Trophy in Germany, shares seventh place with Wales Open champion, Denis Durnian, and Scotland’s John McTear, Australia’s Ian Stanley, America’s Jeff Van Wagenen and Englishmen, Jim Rhodes and Brian Waites all share ninth place on one over par 143.

During the second round Coles, 66, the oldest active member of the Seniors Tour, carded a 67 that included two eagles at the 531 yard 3rd and the 487 yard 18th.

"I played very well but I also got the breaks when I needed them," said Coles who won his fourteenth and last victory at last year's Microlease Jersey Seniors Open where he also became the first golfer in history to win at least one professional event in six different decades.

"I think the way that I got my two eagles shows the sort of round I had.

“On the 18th I hit a good drive and a good 6-iron into four or five foot and holed the putt. That was what you could call a good eagle but on the 3rd I hit a bad drive and a bad 6-iron but then holed out from 15 yards out of the sand."

"You take the breaks when you get them," he added

Coles heads into the final round one shot behind Dolan 111 in the race for the £500 Hardys Wines Super Seniors prize awarded to the leading competitor over the age of 60.

Waites, who has won six European Seniors Tour titles, but not since the 1998 Elf Seniors tournament, could also be a factor, going into the final round four shots behind Dolan and three behind his English counterpart, Coles.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1JOB, NickENG18-9
2COLES, NeilENG18-3
3GALLACHER, BernardSCO187
4DURNIAN, DenisENG18-4
5STANLEY, IanAUS18-2
T6SHEARER, BobAUS18-1
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