America’s Bob Boyd holds a slender one shot lead heading into the final round of the Castellon Costa Azahar Open de España at Club de Campo del Mediterraneo.
The American rookie added a six under par 66 to his opening 68 for a ten under par two round aggregate of 134 but he goes into the last round knowing that he has both England’s Jim Rhodes and home favourite Jose Rivero breathing down his neck after they posted rounds of 68 and 69 respectively.
South Africa’s John Mashego also moved into contention after storming through the field with and eight under par 64 and it was also a good day for America’s Jerry Bruner and England’s David J. Russell who moved up to a share of fifth place after by recording rounds of 65 and a 67.
However England’s Carl Mason had a round he would rather forget. He stumbled to a lacklustre one over par 73 that left him trailing in seventeenth place on 140 and with little chance of securing the win that would make it all but impossible for Sam Torrance to catch him at the top of the Order of Merit.
Boyd only turned 50 in late July but he has already secured two top ten finishes at the De Vere PGA Seniors Championship and the Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open and now has a great chance to add a maiden Seniors Tour title to his name.
“I’ve been playing great for the last two days,” said the American who won last season’s Seniors Tour Qualifying School in Portugal. “I’ve have now played 36 holes without making a bogey and if I can do the same tomorrow I’ve got to have a great chance to win.
“Jose will have the home support on his side but I’m playing well and kinda’ like my chances.”
Rivero made his Seniors Tour debut while finishing tied third at last week’s Bendinat London Seniors Masters and already he is displaying the sort of form that brought him four European Tour titles and a place in two Ryder Cup sides in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. During the second round he bogeyed the 217 yard par three second and the 363 yard par four 18th but carded four birdies and an eagle in between.
The highlight of Rivero’s round came at the 526 yard par five 17th where he hit a towering 5-wood to within four feet of the hole and then calmly rolled in the putt for an eagle.
“That’s one of the best shots I’ve hit for a long time,” said the Spaniard who has been warming up for the Seniors Tour by competing against men half his age on the Spanish PGA Tour.
“It’s strange what a difference a couple of weeks can make,” he added. “A fortnight ago I was that Grandfather in the field at a Spanish PGA event in Bilbao but now I’m the baby. I’m really enjoying myself and I’d like to think I can win for the home fans tomorrow.”
Rhodes has already won once on this year’s Seniors Tour at the Nigel Mansell Sunseeker Classic at Woodbury Park and he might have been leading again had it not been for a recalcitrant putter. He did secure four birdies in an inward half of 33 but missed several other realistic chances.
“It was one of those days when I couldn’t get a putt to drop,” said Rhodes. “I putting pretty well yesterday but today was a different story altogether. The ball just wouldn’t go in the hole.”
John Mashego secured a best-of-the-day 64 that shaved one shot off his previous best Seniors Tour round recorded at the 2004 De Vere PGA Seniors Championship at De Vere Carden Park.
The South African began his round with birdies on the first, fourth, fifth and seventh and he made up another two strokes to par when he eagled the 528 yard par five eighth. He went on to birdie the ninth, tenth, 11th, 16th and 17th before dropping his only shot of the day on the 363 yard par four 18th hole.
“It was a shame to finish with a bogey but overall it was a great round,” he said. “I’d love to win my first Seniors Tour title tomorrow but it will be tough with so many good players close to the lead.”
America’s David Oakley holds a one stroke lead in the race for the Hardys Wines Super Seniors prize awarded to the leading competitor aged 60 or over. The 60 year-old former furniture store manager from Orlando, Florida, added a 70 to his opening 71 to go into the final round a single shot ahead of English former Ryder Cup stars Maurice Bembridge and Malcolm Gregson. The two Englishmen also both recorded second round scores of 70.