Steen Tinning’s mental fortitude helped the Dane to a two-stroke lead over Mark James going into the final round of the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship.
The Dane, well known for his incredible physical fitness having competed in four Ironman competitions over the past two years, proved his mental strength as he battled with his swing during round three at the Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa.
Having made 13 straight pars at the start of his round, Tinning made an adjustment in his stance that enabled him to seek out some back nine pins as he made birdies at the par five 14th as well as the 16th and 17th to post a three under 68 to move to ten under for the week – two strokes clear of James.
“I am one of those players who has to change things all the time,” admitted Tinning. “I was struggling today with the swing and did not play well for the first 13 holes. It was a real struggle at points.
“But I kept trying to find the way and then eventually on the 14th I just changed my feet a little and all of a sudden I got a good one away and I was able to use that coming in to make a couple more birdies.
“I’ll be on the range this evening trying to fix everything properly but it was good to make a few birdies at the end of the round. I am looking forward to tomorrow – I will be nervous as always but I have to try and channel that in the right way but I can’t be complacent.
“There are so many quality players on that leaderboard but I just have to try and do what O have been doing for the past couple of months which is go under par. If I can shoot under par tomorrow then someone is going to have to play really well to get past me.”
Like Tinning, James finished his third round with far more aplomb than when it begun. Having turned in two over par, the former Ryder Cup Captain birdied the 15th and 16th holes to get back to level and stay within striking distance of Tinning.
James will not be the sole threat to last year’s Senior Tour Rookie of the Year Tinning.
Tied together on seven under – three off the lead – are four men all capable of winning this prestigious title. European Tour winners Santiago Luna and Jamie Spence join former PGA and PGA Seniors champion Andrew Oldcorn and Chris Williams in the chasing pack for Sunday afternoon.
It remains to be seen if any of them can catch Ironman Steen.