Round 3 Notes: U.S. Senior Open Championship

August 01, 2009
Dave Senko, PGA TOUR Staff

CARMEL, Ind. -- Here is where the leaderboard stands after 54 holes:

1. Fred Funk (-13) T2. Greg Norman and Joey Sindelar (-12) 4. Tim Jackson (-10) 5. Mark O'Meara (-9)

• Since 2000, the player(s) leading or co-leading the U.S. Senior Open after the third round have gone on to win the championship just three times. Allen Doyle's comeback from nine strokes in 2005 is the best come-from-behind win in U.S. Senior Open 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.

Year 3rd Rd. Leader/Score Winner 3rd Rd. Position
2000 Bruce Fleisher/200/-13 Hale Irwin 2nd/2 strokes behind
2001 Isao Aoki/208/-2 Bruce Fleisher T6/4 strokes behind
2002 Don Pooley/204/-9 Don Pooley -------
2003 Bruce Lietzke/204/-9 Bruce Lietzke -------
2004 Tom Kite/202/-11 Peter Jacobsen T2/2 strokes behind
2005 Roberts, Stadler/202/-11 Allen Doyle T16/9 strokes behind
2006 Tom Watson/202/-8 Allen Doyle 2nd/2 strokes behind
2007 Tom Watson/209/-7 Brad Bryant T6/5 strokes behind
2008 Eduardo Romero/201/-9 Eduardo Romero -------

• Here is a look back at the results from the previous nine years:

• Funk has been a good frontrunner on the Champions Tour. In the four previous times he has led an event heading into the final round, Funk has won three of four. The wins came at the 2006 AT&T Championship, the 2007 Turtle Bay Championship and the 2008 JELD-WEN Tradition. He was T2 at this year's Dick's Sporting Goods Open.

• Funk has made a killing on the par-5 holes during this event. Through 54 holes, Funk is 9-under-par on those holes and has made birdies on nine of the 12 par-5s this week.

• The U.S. Senior Open will have a definite bearing on the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race with double points being awarded to the top-10 finishers in this event. With a first-place check for $470,000 available to the winner, the winner will also earn 940 points in the points race. In addition to double points in all five Champions Tour major championships this year, the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship offers double points to those players earning a top-10 finish at Sonoma Golf Club in late October. At the end of the official season, the player earning the most points will receive a $1-million payout from Charles Schwab. Additional payouts will also be made to players finishing second through fifth. Bernhard Langer currently leads the race with 1,615 points followed by Loren Roberts with 1,257. Funk is third with 893 with Larry Mize fourth at 889. Mark McNulty rounds out the top five with 774 points. Of the top five players on the points list, only Funk is currently in the top 10 and the possibility exists should be win, he could take over the lead in the race.

• Norman is just one stroke behind starting Sunday's final round just a week after holding the 54-hole lead at the Senior British Open where he eventually finished T6. In his previous two starts in this championship, he has finished fourth both times.

• Former PGA TOUR player Robin Freeman is enjoying his first start on the Champions Tour since turning 50 on May 7th. Freeman is currently T9 heading into Sunday's final round. During his time on PGA TOUR, Freeman earned $2.1 million. He also competed on the Nationwide Tour where he won a pair of titles.

Russ Cochran matched the fourth-lowest score in U.S. Senior Open history on Saturday when he fired an 8-under-par 64. He became the eighth player to shoot a 64 in this event. Roberts holds the current scoring record with a 62 in 2006, while Don Pooley (2002) and Allen Doyle (2005) carded rounds of 63.

Hale Irwin continued his climb up the leaderboard. He shot a 2-under-par 70 on Saturday and finds himself T24 after 54 holes. Irwin opened with a 78 and followed with a second-round 67 and has now moved up 99 places from T123 to T39 and now T24.

• In addition to a winner's check for $470,000 and 940 Charles Schwab Cup points, the winner of this tournament gets a five-year exemption into the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai as well as a berth in next year's U.S Open Pebble Beach.

• With his three consecutive rounds in the 60s, Funk is the only player to have done that in this tournament. In fact, Funk has posted rounds in the 60s in seven of his last eight starts. He owns the third-best final-round scoring average on the Champions Tour in 2009 at 68.70.

• The final two pairings on Sunday will be the same as on Saturday with the exception that Funk and Norman will go off last after Sindelar and amateur Jackson had those honors on Saturday.