GERMANY’S Bernhard Langer will take a one shot lead into the final day of the 2012 Senior British Open at Turnberry with Australia’s Peter Fowler just two strokes back in third.
Langer, who is attempting to win his second Senior Open Championship in three years after taking the event at Carnoustie in 2012, claimed the 54 hole lead over Fred Couples after battling more testing conditions on the renowned Ailsa Course to post a four under par 66 in Saturday’s third round.
Overnight leader Gary Hallberg slipped back into a tie for fourth with 18 holes to play.
Fowler, the 2011 European Senior Tour Order of Merit winner, showed great form to sign for the only bogey-free round of the day, a five under par 65 leaving the Australian one shot back from Couples.
Peter Senior, one of less than a handful of players in the red at 1-under after difficult, windy conditions on the second day, shot a 2-over 72 to slip back to 1-over for the tournament, tied for 11th.
With winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour at times on the third day, scoring proved equally challenging.
Langer capitalised to take control of what is the 26th Senior Open, the seventh to be played at Turnberry.
“I played a really good round of golf today with a couple of small putts missed,” the 54 year old said. “I drove the ball really well, putted well early, and then I missed a couple of short ones.”
“Overall the wind wasn’t quite as strong as yesterday and we just had two rain showers, so it was a little bit better than the forecast had predicted.”
Langer, who held off a Corey Pavin charge to complete a wire-to-wire maiden Senior Major victory at the same event two years ago, reflected on what it would mean to capture a second Senior Open title come close of play on Sunday.
“It always means a lot to win Major Championships, win big tournaments, because you’re winning against the best players on tough golf courses,” he said Langer. “This is a fantastic test of golf.
“There are a lot of guys still on the leaderboard with a chance, and I look forward to tomorrow, playing with Freddie. We played together in the Pro Am, and we’ve been paired together many other occasions so it should be a good day.”
Couples posted a best-of-the-day 64 with a near-flawless Saturday that featured seven birdies, including a hat-trick to close the back nine, and just the one bogey at the tough par four 14th leaving the Senior Open debutant one shot off the lead.
“It was a very, very good day,” said Couples, who shot an impressive two under par 68 in the worst of the conditions on Friday. “Yesterday I think gave me a little confidence, and then coming out and playing today, I certainly didn’t think I would shoot 64, but once I got going, I didn’t miss many shots; it was a great day, a lot of fun.”2012 Senior British Open Leaderboard