Bernhard Langer will take a three stroke lead into the final round of The Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard as he looks to close out his maiden Senior Major Championship victory.
The German's two under par round moved him clear of halfway joint-leader Corey Pavin - the US Ryder Cup Captain carding a one over 72 to lie second on three under par.
Two-time Masters Tournament champion Langer advanced to six under for the week with birdies at the first, sixth and 15th, but a bunkered tee shot at the last cost him a bogey-free round.
He almost got up and down after a fine pitch to eight feet, but left his putt right and had to settle for bogey.
It means Langer, who has finished fourth in the past two Senior Open Championships and second in the 2008 US Senior PGA Championship, is in pole position to add a first Senior Major Championship to the two Masters Tournaments he won in 1985 and 1993.
"It was a good round of golf again," said the 2002 Ryder Cup Captain. "I played very solid, and wasn't in too much trouble for the most part.
"There's only two things that I could have done better; I think the three-putt on 14 was a shame after hitting two beautiful shots in there. And I wasn't too far away, I was only about 35 feet away with the first putt and three-putted that one.
"And then the bogey on the last one, I hit probably the wrong club off the tee and just trickled into the bunker and ended up making bogey there. But otherwise, I was very happy with my round.
"But I'm aware of the golf course - that it's one of the toughest links you'll ever play. So I'm very much aware that the three shot lead is nothing, or very little, so I still need to play a very solid, very good round of golf tomorrow if I'm going to lift the trophy."
Pavin will also feel he may have done better on the last, after a fine approach he pulled a 12 foot birdie attempt left and in doing so missed an opportunity to halve the deficit.
"It was a day I played fairly well, and a lot of putts just missed," he said. "Sometimes you have days like that - I would rather have it be on Saturday than Sunday.
"So I'll go work on my putting and see if I was maybe lined up a little bit wrong or something was off. But I was pleased with today and I played well. It seemed like I had a lot of 12, 15 footers for birdie and couldn't get them in - but that's the way it goes sometimes and that's why we play tomorrow, as well."
Langer has had seven top-ten finishes in Senior Majors since joining the over-50 ranks, and won the Champions Tour Order of Merit in 2008 and 2009, but victory over the Championship Course would represent his first Major title since he collected the second of his Green Jackets in 1993.
By contrast, Pavin is playing his first Senior Major after turning 50 last November. He had birdies at the sixth and 14th, but a bogey at the third and consecutive dropped shots at the tenth and 11th left him with work to do to catch Langer.
“I'm going to play the same way,” revealed Pavin. “This course, once you start attacking and getting aggressive, it can really come up and bite you. But if I get into position with a few holes to go, I might take a chance if I need to.”
No fewer than six players finished the day tied for third on two under - five of them American.
Fred Funk, Jay Don Blake, Russ Cochran, Larry Mize and Jay Haas were joined by Wales' former Senior Tour Order of Merit winner Ian Woosnam, the 2006 Ryder Cup Captain.
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