Sam Torrance carded a sensational six under par 66 to move into a commanding four shot lead after the third round of the De Vere PGA Seniors Championship at De Vere Carden Park in Cheshire.
The former Ryder Cup captain carded a total of eight birdies to go into the final round on 14 under par 202 and with a four shot cushion over Nick Job and Carl Mason who both dropped shots at the last to go round in two under par 70.
D.J. Russell also carded a 70 to claim fourth place on 207 while Ian Mosey shot up the leaderboard with a 66 that sees him go into the last round six shot behind the runaway leader.
“I played beautifully,” said Torrance who carded three birdies in his first nine holes and then came home in 33 shots culminating with a curling 25 foot putt for a birdie on the last.
“I’ve been playing well all week and I’d like to think I can keep it going tomorrow.
“That putt at the last was a real bonus,” he added. “It gives me a nice cushion but I know I will have to play well to win.”
Mason has been plagued by a bad back since arriving in Cheshire and he had to take several painkillers out on the course just to dull the pain.
“It’s not good I’m afraid,” said the man who headed the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit in 2003 and 2004 and is heading it again this year.”
“The painkillers help but subconsciously I’m struggling to get through the ball. I hit a couple of drives right and that’s a direct result of the problem. It’s hard to get through the ball when you think it’s going to hurt.”
Mason began brightly enough when he holed out from 12 feet for a birdie on the 363 yard par four third but he gave that shot straight back when he three-putted from 20 feet at the sixth. He went on to claim three more birdies at the ninth tenth and 15th but hit a wayward drive down the last to register his second bogey of the day.
“That bogey at the last was a bit of a blow,” he said. “It’s going to be tough to catch Sam but I will certainly be giving it a go.
“If I’m feeling a bit better there’s no reason why I can’t
give him a fight. It’s a funny old game. You’re never sure what’s going to happen next.”
Job might well have been a couple of shots closer to Torrance had it not been for a recalcitrant putter that has been troubling him for most of the year. He did birdie the third when he hit a glorious wedge into six inches but missed several other chances before dropping his first shot of the day at the 398 yard par four eighth. Two birdies at the ninth and the tenth were to follow before he gave one back when he hit his approach to the 18th through the green and then failed to get up and down.
“Sam’s in control,” said Job. “I had my chances today but they just wouldn’t drop. I putted decently yesterday but I’ve been struggling on the greens for most of the year and today was no exception.”
England’s Ian Mosey equalled the low round of the week with a flawless six under par 66 to move up to fifth place on eight under 208.
The former Monte Carlo Open champion decided to put a new set of Callaway irons in his bag before travelling to Carden Park and he was clearly delighted with the decision.
“That’s one of the best days I’ve had for a while,” Mosey said after signing off with a beautiful 150 yard six iron into two feet on the 417 yard par four 18th hole. “The new clubs felt a little bit awkward on Thursday but I’ve got used to them now and they are behaving very well.”
“They are probably a couple of yards shorter than my old set but they help me to shape my shots and that’s an important consideration round this course.
“I’m more confident now than I have been at any time
since joining the Seniors Tour,” he added. “I’m a bit behind the leaders but another solid round tomorrow should get me a good cheque.”
England’s John Morgan and Canada’s Bill Hardwick lead the race for the Hardys Wines Super Seniors prize awarded to the leading contestant aged 60 or over.
Hardwick carded a level par 72 to go into the final round on two under par 214 and he was joined on that total by Morgan who posted a third round 76.
Former Seniors Tour Number One Tommy Horton is their nearest challenger. He carded a fine 69 to go into the last round on level par.