One of the best rounds of Bruce Lietzke's 29-year career gave him to a four-stroke lead in the third round of the US Senior Open.
updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
Ohio:Bruce Lietzke has gone lower than 64, but never with so much riding on it. One of the best rounds of Lietzke's 29-year pro career powered him to a four-stroke lead through Saturday's third round of the US Senior Open. Lietzke's 7-under 64 â€“ which included five birdies on the home nine â€“ left him at 9-under 204 heading into the final round. He has never before won a major championship, although he's had close calls over a long and productive career. Vicente Fernandez, who started the day with a one-stroke lead over Tom Watson, shot a 71 and was deadlocked with Watson for second place at 5-under 208. Watson had a 70 that included pars on his final 10 holes. Lietzke opened and closed his round with birdies. In between, he never seemed to be out of position and seldom hit a bad shot â€“ or at least one from which he couldn't recover. His 64 was five strokes better than the next best score in the third round â€“ just as Fernandez's 64 was the day before. Lietzke played the final 10 holes in 6 under, again and again pulling off stunning shots as he skirted trouble with sometimes errant drives. After letting a share of the lead slip away with two bogeys on the front side, Lietzke hit a 7 iron to 16 feet at the bunker-surrounded ninth hole to pull within a shot of Watson's lead. He pulled even at No 11, coming out of the heavy rough with a 9-iron approach that ended up 6 inches from the pin. The Texan then strung together three birdies in a row to take command. Lietzke won 13 times on the PGA Tour and has won six more tournaments since joining the senior circuit in 2001. He tied for third behind John Jacobs earlier this year at the Senior PGA Championship, the first major of the year. In 52 major championships â€“ four as a senior and the rest while on the PGA Tour â€“ Lietzke's best finish is a second to John Daly in the 1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick. His best previous finish in an Open was a tie for 17th at Merion in 1981. (AP)