Tim Thelen’s dream form continued at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open, where the American’s five under par 65 saw him to seize control of the tournament and establish a three shot lead going into the final round.
Thelen held off Bernhard Langer, Barry Lane and Peter Fowler with a brilliant final round performance to win his maiden Senior Tour title at last week’s Berenberg Bank Masters, and he has brought the same form to the Swiss mountains and the Golf Club Bad Ragaz.
Fowler, four off the pace in a tie for fifth place with Mark James, will again be among the chasing pack, this time in the company of former Masters Champion Ian Woosnam, who shares second place with American Mike Cunning and South African Chris Williams on six under par.
While Thelen and the leaders forged ahead, Sir Bob Charles fell back into the chasing pack in round two following the 76 year old’s amazing first round 66.
The legendary left-hander from New Zealand bettered his age by a record-breaking ten strokes on Friday, but he had to settle for only a three stroke improvement after a second round of three over 73.
Charles now lies on one under par, in tie for 26th position, three ahead of another legendary 76 year old, Gary Player. The South African nine-time Major Champion posted a level par 70 to remain on two over.
The second round belonged to Thelen, however, as the American set up a glorious opportunity to pick up his second Senior Tour title in the space of seven days. The 51 year old’s confidence levels have gone up a level since his landmark victory last week.
“It was another fantastic day out there,” said Thelen. “I only really missed two greens all day and made the double bogey on the ninth, but apart from that I played great and made a lot of chances for birdies, a lot of which I converted.
“I think I will try and be pretty relaxed tomorrow in the final round but I know that I have to go out there and make birdies. The guys behind me are so good that if I go out there and make a load of pars then these guys will run straight over me. It’s great to have a three shot lead but it can all change so quickly.
“I would have to say that my confidence is very good after winning in Munich last week. When you look at the names that were on that leaderboard, it’s amazing when you consider what they have achieved.
“To beat those guys, birdieing the last hole to win, was just fantastic and made me feel like I really can compete with these great players. Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow.”