Paul Broadhurst fired a brilliant 67 in tough conditions at Royal Lytham and St Annes to take a one shot lead into the final round of The Senior Open Presented by Rolex.
The 2016 champion started the day four shots off the lead but recovered from an early bogey with four birdies to get to five under and lead the way from American Woody Austin.
This is Broadhurst’s second 54-hole lead at a Major this season after the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship where he finished third and, while he may not be fond of the wet conditions on the Fylde coast, he is playing a layout he loves.
“It was one of my better rounds in these conditions,” he said. “I’m not a great lover of the rain. I don’t mind playing in wind but when there’s a bit of a combination, the rain as well, I’ve not had too many great rounds in the rain, so that’s right up there today.
“I didn’t start great. I didn’t really play one, two, three that well but then I got through them one over, which was okay in the conditions, pretty nasty.
“I made birdie on five and played six pretty well and that set me in a little bit and got the rhythm going. From then on I played really well and I played quality golf the last 12 holes.
“I’ve got to take some confidence out of the way I played today. If you are leading the tournament, it’s the biggest tournament we play nowadays. I’m leading and I’ve got to take confidence from that.
“I have great memories of playing here, I won the Lytham Trophy as an amateur, I won the Silver Medal in The Open the same year. I led The Open in 96 after one and Tom Lehman won. I’ve had some really good memories at Lytham.”
Broadhurst dropped a shot on the third but picked it back up on the fifth and put his tee shot on the par three ninth to ten feet to turn in 33. Approaches to four feet on the 16th and 17th then saw him clear.
Austin turned in 36 but picked up four shots on the back nine in a 68 to sit a shot ahead of countrymen Ken Duke and Wes Short Jr.
Bernhard Langer – a three time winner of The Senior Open – was then at two under alongside Welsh pair Stephen Dodd and Phillip Price, and Australian David McKenzie.
England’s Paul Eales produced the round of the day with a 66 to be four shots off the lead alongside Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke and American Tim Petrovic.
On the day he announced that this would be his final Senior Open, two time champion Tom Watson delighted the crowd with birdies on the 16th and 17th in a 72 that left him six over.