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Allen Maintains Edge in U.S. Senior Open
Though he shot nowhere near the brilliant 63 in the second round that gave him a five-shot cushion heading into Saturday, Michael Allen maintained his lead in the 34th U.S. Senior Open. The fourth of five majors this season on the Champions Tour is underway at the par-70 Omaha Country Club in Nebraska.
Allen, a 54-year-old Californian and four-time winner on the over-50 circuit - including the 2009 Senior PGA Championship, carded a 2-over 72 that included three birdies and five bogeys. As the championship enters the final round, he stands at 8-under 202, two shots ahead of Kenny Perry and Fred Funk, who carded a 64 and 67, respectively.
The third round was the time for Perry to shine. The 52-year-old Kentuckian's 64 matched Saturday's low round, also shot by Corey Pavin. Perry knew he had to go low to get closer to Allen and give himself a chance Sunday. "I was trying to birdie every hole out there, and I had so many great opportunities," said Perry, who won his first major title on any tour at the Senior Players Championship two weeks ago.
"I mean, I played a phenomenal day. It could have been 59 out there. So very happy. Actually, I achieved my goal. I've gotten close enough to him to where, if I play a good round tomorrow, I got a good shot at this thing."
Funk kept grinding to also stay close. "When you get tough conditions and you're playing good, you get rewarded," said the 2009 U.S. Senior Open champion. "More than likely, the guy that's playing the best in these kind of conditions will be at the top. Hopefully, it will be me."
Pavin's 64 took him to fourth place at 4-under 206, still within eyeshot of his second major; the 53-year-old's first came at the 1995 U.S. Open. The 15-time PGA Tour winner knows the championship in Nebraska is far from settled. "You never know what can happen," he told reporters. "When the USGA sets up the golf course, funny things can happen on Sunday. I've seen it time and time again. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't where guys come back.
"Probably going to need a little help, but we'll see what happens out there with how Michael plays. If Michael plays well . . . tomorrow, he's going to win. But nevertheless, I could just play the best I can, and that's all I can do."
Five shots out of the lead is Champions Tour rookie Rocco Mediate, who had a 72, and six back are Taiwan's Chien Soon Lu (65) Tom Pernice Jr. (65), Chris Williams (66), Steve Pate (67), John Riegger (67), Bart Bryant (67), Peter Fowler (68), Mark O'Meara (70), Tom Lehman (70) and Jeff Sluman (72).
Other scores include a 68 by 2010 U.S. Senior Open champion Bernhard Langer of Germany, which took him to a tie for 18th at even-par 210. Also at that number is Fred Couples, who had a 70.
After opening with two straight 70s, Tom Watson shot a 73 and dropped into 35th at 213. "Pretty lousy day out there for me," said the World Golf Hall of Fame member. "I struggled with the driver, didn't hit the ball in the fairway enough times, and I didn't hit the irons very well today. Yesterday, I hit the ball a little better, quite a bit better than I did today. But again, not too many birdies.
"You make four birdies in three days, you can't do that and expect to win a golf tournament. So 3-over par, and I needed to shoot a good round today, and at least 3- or 4-under par today to at least sniff it or scare it, and it wasn't to be."
The only amateur to make the cut, Doug Hanzel, a 55-year-old medical doctor from Savannah, Ga., carded a 73 to drop into 56th place at 217.
Defending champion Roger Chapman of England missed the cut of 6-over 146 following rounds of 74 and 76.
For all the scores, visit http://www.ussenioropen.com/scoring2013/dyn/alllb.html.