Englishman Barry Lane is eyeing his second European Senior Tour victory after a four under par 67 left him three strokes behind leader Jamnian Chitprasong going into the final round of the Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters presented by The Stapleford Forum.
Former Ryder Cup player Lane, winner of last year’s Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open, fired seven birdies to move into a share of second place with Australian Mike Harwood and Sang-ho Choi of Korea, with Chitprasong moving clear on ten under par after a superb 65.
Lane could have reduced the margin at the top of the leaderboard had he not struggled with the humidity in Brunei, dropping three strokes after the turn at The Empire Hotel and Country Club.
Indeed for the first two rounds Lane is eight under par and bogey free for the front nine but one over par for the back nine, suggesting fatigue has been a factor.
Despite that, the five time European Tour winner, who started the 2011 Senior Tour season with consecutive top ten finishes in Japan and Mauritius, is satisfied with his position going into the final round.
“I started off well and birdied the first and second and then six, seven and eight to get to five under for the round but then I three putted the tenth from about 20ft which sort of stopped the flow a little bit,” he said.
“I birdied the 12th, bogeyed the 13th and 14th the birdied the 15th , so I struggled a little bit towards the end with the heat.
“I think I’m getting a bit tired towards the end. The conditions play a part. I’m trying to eat and drink as much as I can on the way round and I still haven’t got over the jet lag –I’ve been up at 4am every morning. When you’re not playing until 11am it’s a long time.
“All in all though, it’s been pretty good. It’s nice to be out again, in the new year, and nice to be in contention and up there.”
Chitprasong is hoping to become the second consecutive Thai winner of the Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters presented by The Stapleford Forum following Boonchu Ruangkit’s success 12 months ago.
The 52 year old is not a Senior Tour member, just as Ruangkit was not last year when he triumphed, but he birdied his first four holes and picked up further shots on the 12th and 15th holes to establish a three stroke lead and move into pole position to follow his compatriot’s success.
“I would like to win so I can join the Senior Tour and play the full season,” he said. “It was a bit hot for me today but I played well. My irons were good and I putted well so today everything was really good for me.
I’ve played the course four or five times. The greens are very good and it suits my game.”
Harwood and Choi both shot rounds of 68 to remain in contention alongside Lane on seven under par. Defending champion Ruangkit, the 2010 Order of Merit winner, is seven shots off the pace on three under par after a second round 69, along with Carl Mason and 2002 Ryder Cup Captain Sam Torrance.
Current Order of Merit leader Sandy Lyle is one under par for the tournament following a 69 while Ian Woosnam carded a 74 to lie in a share of 43rd place on three over par.