Miguel Angel Jimenez carded an even-par 72 on the Old Course at St Andrews, and will take a two-shot lead into Sunday’s finale of The Senior Open.
The 54-year old Spaniard finished his third day on the blustery coast of Scotland with four bogeys offset by as many birdies en route to a 72 and a three-day score of 9-under par.
“Conditions were difficult today, brutal,” said Jimenez.
“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.”
Defending champion Bernard Langer appeared headed for the final pairing with Jimenez, but a final-hole bogey dropped him into tie for second with Tom Pernice Jr and Kirk Triplett, along with overnight co-leader Stephen Ames at 7-under par.
“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 following a third-day 73. The 68-year old links legend actually sat atop the leaderboard for a moment on Saturday following a two-hole stretch (Nos. 5 and 6) of eagle-birdie that got him to 10 under, but four lost shots down the stretch dropped him back to 6 under.
“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 was T6 alongside compatriots Tom Lehman and Scott McCarron, and the Thai pair of Prayad Marksaeng and Thaworn Wiratchant.
1. Miguel Angel Jimenez -9
2. Stephen Ames -7
2. Bernhard Langer -7
2. Tom Pernice Jr -7
2. Kirk Triplett -7
6. Tom Watson -6
6. Tom Lehman -6
6. Scott McCarron -6
6. Prayad Marksaeng -6
6. Thaworn Wiratchant -6
VIDEO: TURNING BACK THE CLOCK
68-year old Tom Watson drains a long-bomb eagle putt on the par-5 fifth hole at the Old Course at St Andrews to move to 9 under and into the lead.
“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.”
– Miguel Angel Jimenez