Round 3 Notes: U.S. Senior Open

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July 30, 2011
Dave Senko, Champions Tour staff

Weather: Mostly sunny and warm with highs in the mid-to-upper 80s. Winds were light from the NNE at 5-10 mph.

Current Leaderboard:

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Olin Browne 64-69-65 -- 198 (-14) Mark O'Meara 66-68-66 -- 200 (-12) Jeff Sluman 68-71-65 -- 204 (-9) Peter Senior 69-67-68 -- 204 (-9) Mark Calcavecchia 68-67-69 -- 204 (-9) Joey Sindelar 69-66-69 -- 204 (-9)

Olin Browne set a U.S. Senior Open 9-hole scoring record with a 5-under-par 29 on the back nine which helped him to a two-stroke advantage over Mark O'Meara heading into the final round of the 2011 U.S. Senior Open. Browne finished with a 6-under-par 65, matching Jeff Sluman for the day's low round. Browne's 29 broke the 9-hole scoring record of 30, which was set in 1983 by Richard King and was matched 15 times, most recently by Browne on the front nine in last year's final round at Sahalee CC.

Olin Browne's 54-hole total of 198 is the best 54-hole total in tournament history, breaking Simon Hobday's mark of 199 in 1994. Browne is within striking distance of the U.S Senior Open's all-time scoring record for 72 holes. Hale Irwin holds the mark with a 72-hole total of 267 (17-under-par) in 2000 at Saucon Valley CC. Fred Funk holds the mark for most strokes under par at 20-under-par 268 at Crooked Stick GC in 2009.

Olin Browne is bidding to become just the second player in tournament history to go wire-to-wire in this event. He would join Dale Douglass (1986) with that honor.

Olin Browne's best showing in his two previous U.S. Senior Opens was a tie for third last year at Sahalee CC. He was 10th the previous year at Crooked Stick GC.

• Mark O'Meara is bidding for his second major title on the Champions Tour. He won the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship last year in Maryland.

• There is a chance the Charles Schwab Cup standings could undergo a change on Sunday with double points available to all top-10 finishers. Last year's champion Bernhard Langer earned a winner's check for $470,000 and 940 points. Tom Lehman leads the current race with 1,533 points followed by Russ Cochran (1,163) and Tom Watson (1,064).

• The field averaged 70.383 for the day with 24 rounds in the 60s and 34 sub-par rounds overall. The 34 broke the previous record for the most sub-par rounds in the third round (25 at Crooked Stick GC in 2009).

• Since its inception in 1980, player(s) leading or co-leading the U.S. Senior Open after the third round have gone on to win the championship 20 of the 31 times it has been played, including each of the last three years. Allen Doyle's comeback from nine strokes in 2005 is the best come-from-behind win in U.S. Senior Open championship history. It is also the second-greatest comeback in any major championship. Paul Lawrie came from 10 strokes back to claim the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie.

Hale Irwin continues to impress with his play at age 66. The 45-time Champions Tour winner fired a 5-under-par 66 on Saturday, matching his age for the second time in his career. He posted a 65 at last year's AT&T Championship in San Antonio. Irwin will begin Sunday's final round at 7-under-par 206 and he is currently tied for seventh.

• Should Hale Irwin finish in the top 10, it would be the 204th time he had done so in his Champions Tour career and it would establish a new Champions Tour record. Irwin is currently tied with Bob Charles with 203 career top-10s. Irwin also has 31 top-10 finishes in majors, one more than Jack Nicklaus had in his career.

Olin Browne, Mark O'Meara, Peter Senior, Joey Sindelar and Mark Calcavecchia have all posted three consecutive rounds in the 60s.

• Defending champion Bernhard Langer fired his second consecutive round in the 60s and is currently tied for 10th.

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