Spain’s Juan Quiros holds a slender one shot lead over England’s Gordon J. Brand heading into the final round of the Travis Perkins Seniors Masters at Woburn Golf Club.
The Spaniard, who is known as the European Seniors Tour’s King of the Mountains because two of his previous three victories have come in the Swiss Alps and in the shadow of Mont Blanc, recorded a second successive round of four under par 68 for a 36-hole aggregate of 136.
Brand carded a three under par 69 to add to his opening 69 while 2007 European Seniors Tour No. 1 Carl Mason stormed into contention with a spectacular 66 that left him in a share of third place alongside compatriot Jim Rhodes.
Quiros got his round off to the sensational start when he holed out from eight feet for an eagle on the 514-yard par-5 first hole. He went on to add birdies on the fifth and the tenth for a flawless round that left all his rivals trailing in his wake.
“I have played very well both days,” said the 52 year-old from La Linea, who is looking for his second win of the season. “I have dropped just one shot in 36 holes and that was with a three putt so if I keep things going I think I have a great chance.”
Brand arrived at Woburn having won last week’s De Vere PGA Seniors Championship at Slaley Hall and is in an excellent position to repeat that feat after a 69 left him on seven under par 137.
The Englishman also started with an eagle and then birdied the 456-yard par-4 seventh before dropping a shot on the 409-yard par-4 eighth. He made further advances on the 11th and the 17th but sandwiched between them was a second bogey on the 15th where he made his third three-putt of the day.
“I missed three three-footers but apart from that it was nice and solid,” he said. “The great thing is that I’m hitting the ball well and giving myself a lot of birdie chances.”
England’s Carl Mason had more than just applause ringing in his ears as stormed into contention with a 66 that tied Angel Franco’s low round of the Championship.
The 2007 European Seniors Tour No. 1 who won this title twelve months ago had just putted out for his sixth birdie of the day on the 444-yard par-4 15th hole when an insect flew straight into his ear canal and it was not until playing partner Nick Job poured water into it that they managed to dislodge the intruder.
“I was terrified because I thought it was a wasp and it might sting me,” said the Englishman. “It was a really weird sensation.”
Mason goes into the closing tied alongside 62-year old Jim Rhodes who raced to the turn in three under par 32 but then dropped a shot at the 425-yard par-4 17th . Further down the leaderboard Ireland’s Eamonn Darcy carded a two under par 70 to share fifth place with Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and overnight leader Angel Franco who was struggling with a knee injury and could do no better than a 74.
Italy’s Costantino Rocca added a level par 72 to his opening 70 to go into the final round in ninth place on two under par 142 while both Ian Woosnam and Gordon Brand Jnr registered one over par rounds of 73 to share of eleventh place alongside Nick Job, Stewart Ginn, Mark James, Seiji Ebihara and Louis Carbonetti on level par 144.
The shot of the round came from English Ryder Cup player Maurice Bembridge who achieved his fourth hole-in-one on the European Seniors Tour when he holed out with a 5-iron on the 186-yard 12th hole.
Bembridge will be able to celebrate the ace in style because the shot won him a special prize of 186 bottles of Hardys wine – one for every yard of the hole.
“This is starting to become a bit of a habit,” said the delighted Englishman. “That’s four holes-in-one I’ve had since joining the Seniors Tour and I’ve had several others in practice as well.”
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