Saturday, 25 July 2009
The Senior Open Championship - Round Three  (Getty Images)
The Senior Open Championship - Round Three (Getty Images)

Greg Norman finds himself in familiar territory at Sunningdale ahead of the final round of The Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard – top of the leaderboard.

The man known as Great White Shark carded a terrific round of 64 as the Australian moved one shot clear of overnight leader Fred Funk and 2006 champion Loren Roberts.

The two time Open Championship winner, who has been on the wrong end of many a famous comeback over the years, has led eight times after 54 holes in Major championships - most recently last year’s Open at Royal Birkdale.

“I didn’t expect Fred to come backwards, to be honest,” said Norman.

“I was driving the ball well, I could see the shots I wanted on the tee so I just went and played them. Any time you shoot a low round on a Saturday you usually do get into contention.

“You want to get in there and you want to perform well. It doesn’t matter what age you are.”

Bob Charles, Gary Player and Tom Watson are currently the only players to have won both The Open and The Senior Open Championship, but Norman made a classic third round move for which he has become renowned as he carded a six under total for the day to put himself well placed to become the fourth member of that club.

In 1986 Norman led all four Majors going into the final day, and also won The European Open on this course.

“I feel comfortable around this golf course, I always have done for some reason,” he added. “I like the way it feels.”

Norman went out in 33 but birdied four holes out of five from the 11th and did not drop a shot all day.

A bump-and-run second shot to five feet at the 11th started the run, and a magnificent nine iron approach at the par three 13th saw him pick up another shot.

A drive and four iron saw Norman on the green in two at the par five14th and he holed a 15 foot birdie putt at the next.

The 53 year old American Funk looked to be coasting at one stage when he reached 12 under to lead by four shots.

But at the 12th he found the famous heather for which Sunningdale’s Old Course is so well known and the result was a double bogey six.

He dropped another at the 15th to be joined by Roberts, the 2006 winner of this event at Turnberry, on nine under.

“The good news is that I'm still there.  I can still win it,” said Funk.

“The bad news is I put everybody else in the whole tournament about right back in it. I felt like I had a chance to do some separation and I just didn't do it. I just didn't play well enough.”

Roberts carded a birdie at the third taking him to seven under and when he picked up further shots at the fourth and sixth the gap to Funk was only one stroke.

That led to a round of 67, but Roberts insists Norman will be tough to overcome on the final day.

“I expect Greg to play well tomorrow,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s Denis Watson is another shot back in fourth, with Larry Mize and Sam Torrance on seven under.

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