In much more favourable conditions on moving day at The International, situated next to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, Brown was the only of three overnight leaders to move in the right direction as he recovered from an early bogey to card three birdies en route to the outright lead on three under.
That left the 50 year old two shots clear of Scotland’s Ross Drummond as he chases a second win in as many months after his breakthrough victory at the Russian Open Golf Championship (Senior) four weeks ago.
The Englishman’s playing partner and compatriot Paul Eales was effusive in his praise of Brown’s performance in the recording area afterwards, saying it was a “joy to watch”, and Brown himself was delighted with his all-round game.
“I’ve played really well over the last two days,” said Brown, who has been based in Germany since 1984. “Yesterday I hit the ball well and around the greens I was good. When I made a mistake I managed to recover really well.
“Today obviously we had no rain and I just hit the ball really nicely and kept it going. I didn’t really have any wobbles, it was just solid all the way around. I've pitched the ball well so that has helped a lot.
“I didn’t miss any fairways either today and missed one or two greens but that was about it. I three-putted for bogey at the second, hit it too hard down the hill and thought I’d holed the second one but it broke the wrong way at the end. That was the only slip all day though.”
Brown’s performance in closing out his maiden title in Russia last month resembled that of an experienced touring professional as opposed to a former club professional who earned his place on the 2013 Senior Tour through Qualifying School.
With the likes of European golf legend Colin Montgomerie and 25-time Senior Tour winner Carl Mason in chase, he holed a 25 foot putt at the penultimate hole in Moscow before almost holing out with his approach and leaving it stone dead for birdie at the last for a wire-to-wire victory. He is hoping that experience will stand him in good stead on championship Sunday in the Dutch capital.
“Of course I'm confident because I’m playing so well,” he said. “I'm hitting it really well and that helps so hopefully I’ll wake in the morning and be hitting it just the same.
“I think that experience will help. Obviously confidence is everything. That finish in Russia was extra-special though, those kinds of things don’t always happen. That shot at the last was probably the best shot of my career so it’s not likely to happen too often.”
Two shots back was Drummond, who carded one of the rounds of the day thanks to a four under par 69 over the testing lay-out, and he was also looking forward to battling it out in the final group.
“The conditions were a lot easier today,” said the 56 year old. “Yesterday was so difficult with the rain and the cold and the underground conditions as well but the course has tried out quite a lot today and there were preferred lies so that helped.
“I played nicely. I didn’t get myself into much trouble and, like anybody who has had a good round, took my chances and if I did miss a green I got up and down, so it was just a tight round of golf.
“I haven’t played particularly well this year so it’s nice to be right up there. Apart from a good top five finish at the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters I have been down the field, so this has come out of the blue a little bit.
“Who knows what the difference is, it’s just golf and it’s a fickle game. Sometimes things just click into place so hopefully I can just keep that going and play solid from tee to green and hole a few putts.”
José Manuel Carriles (71) of Spain, Englishman Eales (72) and France’s Marc Farry (74) were all still in with a shout on level par, three shots off the lead.
|1||BROWN, Simon P||ENG||11:30||-3|
|T3||CARRILES, José Manuel||ESP||11:20||Par|
|T6||MARTIN, Miguel Angel||ESP||11:00||1|