Peter Fowler and Barry Lane will go into the final round of the Cleveland Golf / Srixon Scottish Senior Open tied at the top of a fascinating leaderboard that includes an American tourist, the most successful European Senior golfer of all time, a links golf specialist and a former Masters Champion.
For American tourist read Gary Koch, the former PGA Tour champion who is now better known as the face of NBC Television’s golf coverage in the USA; while Carl Mason, Des Smyth and Ian Woosnam represent the Senior Tour’s most successful player, the links legend and the Green Jacket winner.
It is a truly intriguing leaderboard, with Lane and Fowler leading the way on eight under after respective second round scores of 69 and 71 round the Torrance course at Fairmont St Andrews.
Koch carded a best-of-the-day 68 to move into second spot on seven under, while Mason (69) shares fourth place with Smyth (69) on five under with Woosnam (70) a shot further back.
The quality on the packed leaderboard is not lost on Fowler as the Australian looks to secure a third Senior Tour win of the year that would go a long way to helping him secure the Order of Merit title in his second season on the circuit.
“It was a tough finish with the bogey on 18 today but I am in a good position overall,” said the amiable Australian.
“It would be great to win my third tournament of the year here at the Home of Golf but I will take a win anywhere to be honest. Obviously I am in a good position here and on the Order of Merit but you just have to look around me on the leaderboard here and the Order of Merit to see the quality of players you are up against.
“Guys like Barry Lane, Carl Mason and Woosie are all proven winners and still such good players that it will be tough to come out on top here and at the end of the season.”
With Scotland’s chances of producing a home winner fading fast – Andrew Oldcorn and Ross Drummond lead the way on two under par - Lane is hoping to offer the excellent crowds at Fairmont St Andrews a popular alternative.
The defending champion loves playing in Scotland, having won his first European Tour title at the 1988 Scottish Open before making his Senior Tour breakthrough in the Home of Golf last year.
“I just love playing in Scotland, especially links golf,” said Lane. “It’s just a lot more fun and when you get a breeze going as we had today and you have to use your imagination and create a lot more shots.
“The crowds have always been kind to me up here and I just have a real nice affinity with the people up here. I’m not sure if, as an Englishman, I am allowed to wear tartan but I am going to have a little treat for them tomorrow with the tartan trousers on – I’ll do anything for a bit of support!”
While Oldcorn and Drummond will carry the faintest hopes of a home winner in the final round over the Torrance Course at Fairmont St Andrews, two of their more illustrious compatriots saw their title hopes disappear.
A pair of second round four over par 76s dwarfed the chances of Sam Torrance and Sandy Lyle providing the St Andrews crowd with the winner they craved.
But, with Barry in his tartan ‘breeks’, the class act that is Peter Fowler and the hugely entertaining Koch, Mason, Smyth and Woosnam fighting it out for the title, the good people in golf’s spiritual home could do a lot worse than spend their day in the company of legends doing battle for a prestigious Senior Tour title.