Peter Fowler and Barry Lane, the top two on last year’s European Senior Tour Order of Merit, are well placed to mount a challenge in the final round of The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, and both players hope Turnberry can inspire them to glory.
Fowler fired a flawless five under par third round 65 over the Ailsa Course to move into third position on five under par, two strokes behind Bernhard Langer’s leading total of seven under par 203.
The Australian, who held off Lane’s challenge to win the John Jacobs Trophy as the leading Senior Tour player in 2011, finished seventh in last year’s Senior Open at Walton Heath.
After shooting seven strokes lower than his playing partner and compatriot Peter Senior in the third round, he is hoping to challenge Langer, Fred Couples and the other world class names for the title on Sunday.
“I'm excited about it being at Turnberry and playing a really top‑class course,” he said. “I've been inspired by playing with the likes of Ian Woosnam and John Cook and Peter Senior, the guys that have been beating me pretty easily over the years and watch how they go about it.
“And playing a Major, it's the only chance we get to really see the full range of top‑class players. They've won many tournaments over the years, so I have a lot of inspiration from watching them and competing with them.”
Fowler was the only player out of the leading contenders to finish without a blemish on his card, and his form has given him plenty of confidence heading into the final round.
“I'd have taken that any day,” he said. “I drove the ball really well. I've been playing the front nine under par each day. I finally got the back nine sorted out. But I rolled a few good putts and got a couple of up‑and‑downs out of the bunkers, which is not that easy.”
Lane, meanwhile, is two shots further back on three under par 207, but the Englishman is hoping he can follow the example set back Roger Chapman in the US Senior Open two weeks ago.
Chapman managed to overturn Langer’s four shot lead at Indianwood to claim his second Senior Major of the season, and Lane is targeting exactly the same outcome tomorrow.
“Roger is unbelievable,” said Lane. “He's always been a fantastic player and a great striker of the ball and such a great guy. Everybody is absolutely chuffed for him.
“He's done fantastic to win the US PGA and the US Senior Open. We're all inspired anyway, especially when Americans come over and it's a Major. It is inspiring to see him do so well. But we all know how good he was and we all know how good everybody is, really. So if it's your week, it's your week.”
Lane may also draw on his impressive record on Scottish soil, having claimed his first of five European Tour titles in the 1988 Scottish Open, and his first two Senior Tour titles in the Scottish Senior Open in 2010 and last year.
“I love the golf in this country, I love the atmosphere,” said the former Ryder Cup player. “The people are fantastic and they always give me a warm welcome. But I also like it windy, I think that's it. I like it windy, and I've got pretty good imagination for chipping around.
“I like to be able to play when the courses are like this, when you have to figure out whether you're going to hook it or cut it or whatever. Obviously if you're not playing well, it's not good, but if you're playing well, it's great fun.”