Scotland’s Gordon Brand Jnr will bid to overturn a three-stroke deficit and so deny American Bob Boyd an emotional victory on the final day of the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open.
A round of 65 moved Boyd – who underwent a successful bone marrow transplant in June 2006 after being diagnosed with leukemia – to ten under par, with Brand Jnr on seven under courtesy of a round of 68.
The American, who captured the 2005 Castellón Costa Azahar Open de España Senior, is yet to record a victory on the Senior Tour since recovering from the life-threatening illness. But he may never have a better chance after carding seven birdies in a sumptuous display of strokeplay on another sun-soaked day at Golf Club Bad Ragaz in Switzerland.
Boyd said: “I’m playing very well, and physically I’m feeling better than ever. Obviously there might still be a few mental hurdles to overcome, but hopefully I can clear them tomorrow. It would obviously be a very emotional day if I did manage to win. It would mean the world to me – and not just to me and my family, but also to the doctors and nurses who nursed me back to health.
“I could easily have lost my battle, so I’m just so grateful I’ve been given a second chance, and hopefully I can make the most of it. I came so close to getting the win when I lost to Ian Woosnam in a play-off in Ireland earlier in the year, but hopefully I can go one better tomorrow.”
Brand Jnr, who was joined on seven under par by overnight leader Mike Harwood of Australia, American Doug Johnson and Japan’s Katsuyoshi Tomori, admitted he had not played as fluently as on the opening day. But the Scot was still confident of capturing his maiden Senior Tour title in his first full season on the Tour.
The eight-time European Tour champion said: “I just didn’t quite get it going today for some reason – I didn’t hit it as close as I would’ve liked, and even when I did more often than not I didn’t sink the putts. So it was slightly disappointing, but that’s just the way it goes in golf sometimes. Tomorrow’s another day.
“There are birdie opportunities out there, so a three-shot lead can disappear fairly quickly. If Bob does drop shots, I’ve just got to make sure I’m in a position to take advantage. I won’t be deliberately setting out to attack or anything like that. I’ll just play my normal game, stay patient, and hope it’s good enough to get the win. If it doesn’t happen tomorrow, hopefully it’ll happen soon.”
Harwood was unable to match the fireworks of the opening day and had to be content with a round of 69, whilst Johnson and Tomori climbed into contention with rounds of 67 and 66 respectively.
Scotland’s Sam Torrance posted the joint lowest round of the day with a flawless 63 which moved the former Ryder Cup Captain into a share of ninth place on five under par.