The final day of the Casa Serena Open is poised for what should be an intriguing battle as the top two on the European Senior Tour Order of Merit, Peter Fowler and Barry Lane, tee off together in the final group after Lane took a three shot lead with a course-record nine under par 62.
The Englishman, who lies second in the Order of Merit, surged to the top of the leaderboard on 13 under par after shaving a shot off the previous course record of 63, set by Mark James just hours earlier in a thrilling second day’s play at Casa Serena Golf in the Czech Republic.
Lane made the tournament a late addition to his schedule, which he splits between The European Tour and the Senior Tour, with the hope of overhauling Fowler’s €33,503 lead in the race for the John Jacobs Trophy.
In order to do that this week he would need to win and hope Fowler finishes outside the top three but the Australian is certainly making Lane work for it at Casa Serena Golf as he sits four shots back in third place on nine under par following a of 64.
“My aim this week was to come out and try to win and try to get a bit closer to Peter,” said Lane.
“He is up there as well though so it’s going to be interesting. But if I can push a little bit more this week and do the same in Cannes, it’ll be a fantastic grand final in Mauritius so that’s what it’s all about.”
Lane’s form on the Senior Tour since finishing fifth in The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex in July has been majestic, following that performance by successfully defending his title at the Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open and a second place finish in the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters.
The 51 year old continued his run with a stunning bogey-free second round, reaching the turn in 31 after birdies on the second, third, sixth and ninth holes. However it was a run of four consecutive birdies from the 13th hole which ignited his charge to the top before a birdie on the 18th wrote his name into the Casa Serena Golf history books.
“When I finished fifth in The Senior Open and then won in Scotland, it gave me a bit of momentum and I’m having a great time and I’m really looking forward to the final round now,” said the former Ryder Cup player.
“I played really well in the first round but I just holed a few putts today. I didn’t really hole anything more than 20 feet so it was nice to shoot the score and it’s always nice to make birdie at the last too, especially when it results in a 62!”
Fowler, meanwhile, is relishing every moment as he battles is out with some of the biggest names in golf and says that he is enjoying the game more than ever having won twice on the Senior Tour this year and recorded ten top ten finishes overall.
“Barry’s been playing well but I can’t control what anyone else does. I just have to work on my game.
“I am enjoying my game more now than ever but I don’t see the final round as a duel between me and Barry. I’ll just be having my battle with the golf course, that’s where the battle is.”
Second-placed Roger Chapman, the overnight leader following an opening round 64, will join them in the final three-ball after a steady 68 and his chase for a maiden Senior Tour victory will add another subplot to what is sure to be an action-packed finale.
Chapman is hoping that the focus of attention will centre on his two playing partners during the final round and that he can sneak under the radar and seal his first title.
“I know the two guys are vying for that John Jacobs Trophy so I’m looking forward to playing with Barry and Peter and seeing them battle it out,” said the Englishman. “Maybe then I can sneak up on the rails!”
Carl Mason, the most successful player in the history of the Senior Tour, moved up the leaderboard with a 66 to sit in a share of fourth place on seven under par alongside Australian Mike Harwood (68), Mark Mouland of Wales (70), defending champion Gary Wolstenholme of England (67).