Paul McGinley is just three shots back and purring ahead of the final round of the Staysure Tour’s PGA Seniors Championship.
The Dubliner, who’s proved himself an impeccable pundit on Sky Sports, is clearly still capable with stick in hand after firing a spectacular nine birdies in a significant round of 67 on moving day. The former Ryder Cup captain finds himself stalking the leaders ahead of Sunday’s final round, with David McKenzie out in front at minus-14.
As for the rest of the Irish challenge, Mark McNulty’s 69 on moving day saw him jump inside the top-25 at minus-four. Unfortunately Des Smyth’s 73 saw him lose pace on the leaders at minus-one.
At the top David McKenzie will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship, as he goes in search of his debut win on the Staysure Tour.
The Australian, who qualified for the championship via Monday’s Qualifying event, has never won on European soil but after his round of 68, four under par, he sits in pole position ahead of the final round at London Golf Club.
The 52-year-old finished tied fifth at The Senior Open Presented by Rolex last week and has brought his form from Royal Lytham & St Annes down to Kent, where he followed up his opening rounds of 65-69 with another sub-70 score.
A bogey on the first, having found the water, did not phase him as he bounced back with a gain on the third hole. A second birdie on the front nine came at the sixth as he went out in 35 strokes, one under par, to apply the pressure to overnight leaders Peter Lonoard and Phillip Price.
McKenzie then turned up the heat on the back nine, making three birdies, including one on the last, to take the outright lead at the end of day three. With 18-holes left to play, McKenzie is excited at the prospect of an inaugural victory on the over-50s circuit.
“It’d be fantastic to win on the Staysure Tour and to win in Europe, as I haven’t done that as a senior in Europe or America, plus I haven’t done that on the main tour in either America or Europe,” he said. “It’d be nice to beat some of guys that I always looked to when I was playing mini tours. It’s great to play with them and it’d be great to beat them.
“My game was scrappier than the other days. I hit one in the water on the first hole which wasn’t good for my nerves, but I steadied myself with a nice birdie on the third and played nicely from there.
“I was aware 13 under par was the target, so on 18 I knew I needed to hit it on the fairway to have a chance with the putter. Fortunately, I’ve done that pretty well all week, so hopefully I can do that again tomorrow.”
James Kingston, who set the clubhouse target at 13 under par, is one shot behind the Aussie following the joint-low round of the week, an eight under par round of 64, which featured a back nine of five under par, as the South African eyes a debut win on the over-50s circuit.
Australian Peter Fowler also signed for a round of 64 to move up the leaderboard on day three and occupies third place, two shots off McKenzie, alongside compatriot Lonard and Price of Wales, as both players carded one under par rounds of 71, having led at the halfway point. Major Champion Michael Campbell and Thaworn Wiratchant share seventh at ten under par total.
The final round at the European Tour Destinations venue starts at 8:40am local time with McKenzie teeing off at 10:20am.