Miguel Angel Jiménez will take a two-stroke lead into the final round of The Senior Open Presented by Rolex after maintaining his composure in testing conditions on the Old Course at St Andrews.
The Spaniard, who started the day in a share of the lead with Canada’s Stephen Ames, carded a level par round of 72 as blustery winds battered the Fife coast for most of the afternoon.
Jiménez recovered from a bogey on the first with birdies on the fifth and sixth holes, before making the turn level par after dropping a shot just before the turn.
He came home level par after two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine to hold a two-stroke lead over American duo Tom Pernice Jnr and Kirk Triplett, Ames and the defending champion Bernhard Langer, of Germany.
“Conditions were difficult today, brutal,” said Jiménez. “It’s tough in this wind. You could see the scores, people got to nine under and ten under but then made bogeys. It’s not easy.
“I was ten under par after birdies on the 12th and 14th, then bogeyed and made three pars. I missed a birdie on the 15th by rushing myself, but that’s golf.
“I like this tournament and, of course, I like St Andrews. I would love to win. I hope I can hold the trophy, I would love to. Tomorrow is going to be a tough day. It’s going to be hard and there are some top players there, all playing very well. Whoever has the most patience in these conditions will win.”
Langer, who won a record tenth Senior Major Championship at last year’s Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl, bogeyed the 18th hole to sign for a round of 73, one over par, and a seven under par total.
“You have to bring a good attitude, whether you’re chasing or leading,” said Langer. “This golf course changes so dramatically when there’s wind, when you get rain on top of it, it’s going to be even harder.”
Tom Watson remained in the hunt for a fourth Senior Open title after also carding a one over par round. The 68 year old delighted the crowds at St Andrews with an eagle on the par five fifth hole, and birdie on the sixth, but dropped four shots on the last five holes to settle for a 73 and a six under par total
“The wind blew hard today, and it was a tough inward nine,” said Watson. “I made some mistakes and I paid the penalty for them. But it’s good to be in this position; I wish I had just been a couple of shots lower.
“Right now, I’m in a bunch just behind the leaders and I’m going to have to play some really good golf tomorrow to come out in front.”
Watson shares sixth place with compatriots Tom Lehman and Scott McCarron, and Thai pair Prayad Marksaeng and Thaworn Wiratchant.
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