John Cook punished Bruce Vaughan’s mid-round slide and shot a 4-under 67 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the Senior British Open.
Vaughan held a three-shot lead at 7-under after a birdie at the par-3 eighth at Royal Troon. But he then bogeyed four in a row around the turn and Cook rolled in a 4-foot birdie putt at 13 to turn a three-shot deficit into a two-stroke lead.
Cook, who was runner-up to Nick Faldo at the British Open at Muirfield 16 years ago, goes into yesterday’s final round on 6-under 207 and leads Vaughan by one as he chases his first major on the Seniors tour at age 50.
“It’s not that it would redeem  but it would certainly help in my way,” he said. “I won 11 times on tour and that’s not bad. I didn’t capture a major unfortunately. I had a few chances I didn’t capitalize on and that part is missing. I feel incomplete without having a major.”
Vaughan came back with a birdie at the last for a 69 and is at 5-over 208 in second place, one ahead of Eduardo Romero, who had a 68. Tom Watson and Bernhard Langer both shot 71 to sit another three shots back, while Greg Norman, who shot a bogey-free 67, is tied for sixth on 1-over 214.
“I know that there are a lot of tournament winners behind me, a lot of good players and that’s what you want,” Cook said.
“I came over here to win this championship and if I do the things that I’m supposed to know how to do. You have to be patient and hit quality golf shots tomorrow and let it fall where it falls,” he said.
The sun shone for the third day running at these links on the west coast of Scotland but the wind direction changed for the third time.
“We have played three completely different conditions,” Cook said. “This was another different golf course.”
Vaughan, who was tied for the lead after the opening round, blamed himself for dropping four shots around the turn.
“I hit the wrong club off the tee [at the ninth] and had to chip out, I missed a short putt at 10, hit a bad shot at 11. At 12 I hit a good shot but got the wrong yardage and I tried to chip it up but it flew clear over [the green] by 30 yards,” he said.
Norman was unhappy that he didn’t get any breaks on the green, despite tying he best round of the championship so far with his 67.
Norman picked up three shots in the first nine when he birdied the first, fourth and sixth holes. He made another birdie at 16 but said his score should have been far lower.
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