Sauers leads as Monty fades in U.S. Senior Open

Gene Sauers during Saturday's third round of the 2014 U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National.
Gene Sauers during Saturday's third round of the 2014 U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National. ( Associated Press )

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Colin Montgomerie's attempt at a wire-to-wire run in the U.S. Senior Open has been broken by Gene Sauers' 68 Saturday at Oak Tree National in Edmond, Okla.

Sauers has posted three rounds in the 60s this week, the only player to do so as he has built a three-shot lead over Bernhard Langer and Scott Dunlap. Langer shot 71 Saturday, Dunlap 72.

It hasn't been easy, to hear Sauers tell it.

"It played a little tougher today with the wind, and the greens aren't as firm as I thought they would be for a U.S. Open," he said. ?But, you know, this is probably as fast and firm as you can get without killing them. The USGA has been kind this week, I think. This golf course, I don't want to play here too much more.

"It's a great golf course, I love it to death, but it is tough."

Sauers' day started with a bogey, but it was his only one of the day. He birdied Nos. 7 and 12, then finished birdie-par-birdie. The three-time PGA Tour winner has never claimed a victory on Champions Tour.

He coped with some illness and a fever Saturday.

"You know, I just told my caddy, 'Keep me cool and keep me hydrated,' all that kind of stuff," Sauers said. "I just kind of mustered everything up. Every time I hit that shot, the last few seconds, just keep that good attitude and mindset and just try to, you know, hit your shots and I did very well."

Langer said he played better than he had Friday, although the score was two shots worse.

"Yeah, if you had asked me on Tuesday or Wednesday, 'Would you take three shots back and second place?' I would have said, "I think I would," so I'm pretty happy with that," Langer said. "I played pretty solid golf for three days in a row and the putter was hot yesterday. Wasn't so hot today, but, you know, we'll see what happens tomorrow."

Montgomerie, meanwhile, shot 74 to drop to fourth at 3 under, four shots back of Sauers. He started strong with birdies on Nos. 1 and 3, but played his last 14 holes in 5 over.

– ASAP Sports contributed