U.S. SENIOR OPEN
Round 3: Five Things to Watch
August 13, 2016 | Columbus, Ohio
By Dave Shedloski
Welcome to Saturday at the U.S. Senior Open, where the third round is underway at Scioto Country Club. Here’s what to watch for as we see if 36-hole leader Joey Sindelar can maintain his position or whether players will make a run on "moving day."
Joey Sindelar: Home cooking has been good so far for the former Ohio State University golfer, who never played Scioto while in college but has drawn energy from friends and fellow alumni in the gallery. Sindelar, 58, has never won on the senior circuit after registering seven wins on the PGA Tour. He came close to winning the 2009 U.S. Senior Open, finishing runner-up to Fred Funk. He last was a factor in the championship in 2011 when he tied for fourth. A win this week would be epic and timely.
Joe Durant: Winner of last week's 3M Championship in a playoff, Durant didn't miss a fairway and improved eight strokes from his opening 75. "My caddie and I said our goal was to kind of chip away at it. Just to keep fighting our way back towards even par. Did a good job of that today," said Durant, 52, who missed the cut in this championship last year at Del Paso Country Club after finishing ninth in 2014. Perennially among the leaders in driving accuracy, Durant is considered one of the best ball strikers in senior golf. He might just keep chipping away in today's third round.
Early tee times: Fatigue was a factor for many players over the first two rounds with heat and high humidity enveloping Scioto Country Club on consecutive afternoons. An early two-tee start to avoid expected thundershowers later in the day will work in everyone's favor, but it will especially help the guys at the top – Joey Sindelar, Billy Mayfair and Gene Sauers – all of whom played early Friday and enjoyed a full day of rest.
Gene Sauers: Sindelar will be a popular figure, but Sauers should be considered the sentimental choice. He nearly won the championship two years ago, but he let slip a three-stroke lead after 54 holes and then lost to Colin Montgomerie in a playoff. But here he is again just two off the lead after rounds of 68-69. A win would mean a great deal to the soft-spoken Georgia native, who nearly died in 2011 when he was struck with Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a potentially fatal skin disorder that hospitalized him for seven weeks.
Stephen Ames: Saturday, of course, is moving day in 72-hole championship golf. It's the day when players near the lead want to stay there while pursuers try to join them to get in position for the final 18 holes. A four-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 2006 Players Championship, Ames was known for some sterling rounds of golf when the putter got hot. He has yet to win since he turned 50, but he's among the top 20 this week in putting and greens in regulation. It wouldn't be a surprise if he was still in contention at the end of the third round.
Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based freelance writer who frequently contributes to USGA websites.