Sauers Seizes Lead; Six Players Within Five Shots

After a fast start to his third round, 36-hole leader Colin Montgomerie came unraveled, carding six bogeys on Saturday on his way to a 3-over 74. (USGA/John Mummert)
By Ron Driscoll, USGA
July 12, 2014

EDMOND, Okla. – Of the possible outcomes from Saturday’s third round of the 35th U.S. Senior Open Championship, Gene Sauers seizing a three-stroke lead over the strong group clustered near the top of the leader board was among the unlikeliest.

And yet, that’s where the championship stands after 54 holes over demanding Oak Tree National, which yielded only three under-par rounds on Saturday. That measly total – among the group of 66 players who made the halfway cut – tied the lowest number of under-par third rounds in the championship’s history (1998, Riviera Country Club).

Sauers birdied two of his final three holes to finish off one of those rare rounds, a 3-under 68, and break from a pack of four players. Sauers holds the 54-hole lead in a major championship for the second time in his career, having led the 1992 PGA Championship before finishing in a tie for second behind Nick Price.

Several players with more impressive resumes in majors failed to keep pace with Sauers, including fellow competitor Bernhard Langer, who is known for his grinding, consistent play that seems built for major championships. Langer, a three-time winner on the Champions Tour in 2014 and the 2010 U.S. Senior Open winner, edged into a share of the lead midway through the inward nine on Saturday. But a couple of short missed putts left him at even-par 71 for the day and three strokes out of the lead, in a tie for second with Scott Dunlap.

“I felt I played better golf today, hit a lot of quality shots,” said Langer. “I left myself more opportunities and the putter got kind of cold on the back nine. I think I had three, four lip-outs in a row there, and you can’t get those back.”

Notebook: Short Battles Through Back Woes

Langer was paired with Sauers, and the pair will play together again on Sunday, starting at 12:40.

“He hung in there very well,” said Langer of Sauers. “He bogeyed the first hole, hitting a couple of poor shots and was a little shaky early, but then he settled down and played very solid golf. He deserves to be in the lead right now.”

Video: Round 3 Recap

Photos: Saturday at Oak Tree

Colin Montgomerie, who earned the first major victory of his long career at the Senior PGA Championship in May, held the lead through two days here, thanks to a 65-71 start. He birdied two of his first three holes on Saturday to extend his one-stroke lead to four, and at 8 under, it appeared he might be poised to run away from the field.

However, Montgomerie began to struggle to hit fairways, leading to a paltry six greens in regulation for the day and six bogeys against just one more birdie. His 3-over 74 left him in solo fourth place.

“I got off to a great start, and then I didn’t hit a green for a while,” said the 51-year-old Scotsman. “In the middle of the round, I also didn’t hit fairways.”

Montgomerie will play in the second-to-last grouping on Sunday with Scott Dunlap, his fellow competitor from Saturday. Dunlap steadied himself after a couple of early bogeys, and helped by a 65-foot birdie putt on No. 11, carded a 1-over 72 to earn a share of second with Langer.

A trio of players – Vijay Singh, Jeff Sluman and Marco Dawson – stand at 2-under 211, one stroke behind Montgomerie in a tie for fifth. Dawson’s see-saw ride continued, as he posted a 2-under-par round of 69 to follow scores of 66-76. He got all the way to 5 under par and into a share of the lead before bogeying his final three holes. Singh (71) finished the day where he started, while Sluman, winner of the 1988 PGA here, carded a 1-over 72.

The only other under-par score was logged by Peter Senior, of Australia, who matched Sauers’ 68 and moved from a tie for 33rd at the start of the day into solo 10th place at 1-over 214, just behind Woody Austin (71-213) and David Frost (71-213).

When Round 4 begins, the formula will be simple for those in the hunt – it’s the execution itself that will be challenging:

“Concentrate on the fairways and greens,” said Sauers. “You got to hit fairways here or you’re not going to have any chance of holding the greens at all.”

“I will try to do what I did on Thursday with a 65,” said Montgomerie. “If I can do it on Thursday, I can do it on Sunday.”

“It certainly helps to have been in this position a number of times,” said Langer. “I think the weather is the hardest part. It’s over 100 degrees and you’re walking up and down the hills. It’s taxing. It’s tough.”

It’s a major championship, and as Montgomerie said on Thursday, “The rewards are so great at the end of it that you keep going, believe me.”

Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at  

Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @usopengolf
World Amateur Golf Ranking
WAGR Counting Event
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image