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Despite some solid results, Tom Watson isn't satisfied with his play this week. (Photo: Getty Images)
Despite some solid results, Tom Watson isn't satisfied with his play this week. (Photo: Getty Images)

Notebook: Hopeful Watson struggles with inconsistency

Tom Watson laments his trouble at the start and finish of his round. Plus, Paul Casey cards two back-nine triple-bogeys, Scott Verplank professes his love of links golf, John Senden chalks up the second ace of the week, and more.

By T.J. Auclair, Junior Editor

HOYLAKE, England -- Tom Watson, a five-time Open champion, didn't have the best of rounds at Royal Liverpool on Saturday. The 57-year-old struggled from the start with a double-bogey on the first hole and went around in 3-over-par 75, which putt him at 1-over 217 for the tournament.

He bounced back nicely from the double, though, playing the next nine holes in 3-under, before giving the shots back with five bogeys on the back.

"I got a nice little stretch starting actually after the double-bogey at one, and played some great golf for nine or 10 holes there, and then I couldn?t find it on the back side," Watson said. "It leaves you sometimes. It left me and was never to be found again."

While Watson has been putting up solid results lately, he's not all that pleased with how he's playing.

"I've been playing very inconsistently for a time now, and even [though he came in] second in the U.S. Senior Open, I wasn't playing very consistent golf, and right now, that's the way I'm playing," he said. "So I hope I can find it during tomorrow's round and find something that'll work well at the Senior [British] Open at Turnberry next week."

EAGLES GALORE: England's Simon Khan, a 34-year-old who makes his living on the European Tour, recorded two eagles -- No. 10 and No. 16, both par 5s -- during his back nine on Saturday. That helped him shoot a 4-under 33 on the inward nine for a 4-under-par 68 on the round. Heading into the final round, Khan is 6-under for the championship.

"It was great coming in," said Khan, whose best finish on the European Tour this year was second-place in the BMW Championship. "I played really well today. Going out I played great and to be level-par at the turn was a bit disappointing. But the pins were quite tight. I hit the hole a couple of times for birdies and hit some good iron shots.

"On 10 I got a bit lucky. I hit a 3-iron in and just missed the bunker and it chased up to the back pin for a tap-in eagle. That got me going again. The wind got up a bit, but it wasn't real windy. It wasn't even a club-wind, but it was enough to make the holes coming in a bit tougher."

ROUGH DAY FOR CASEY: Paul Casey, a 28-year-old Ryder Cupper who has one win on the European Tour this season, did something unusual on Saturday. He recorded two triple-bogeys on the back nine at Royal Liverpool.

The first was an 8 on the par-5 10th -- which he double-bogeyed in the second round -- and the second was a 7 on the par-414th.

What happened?

"Well, that's 15 holes I'd have to describe, so we might be here for a while," Casey said. "I got stuck in the bunker on 10 again. The greenside trap on the right, it took me three goes to get it out because we were so far into the lip there was nowhere to go. Eventually, I got it away from the lip so I could go sideways and back 20 yards short of the green, chipped out and missed the putt. It sounds quite simple when you put it like that."

And the other one?

"The other one," Casey said. "The triple on 14, left fairway trap again, in the face. I had no way of even going sideways. I had one go at trying to get it out and didn't. Luckily, it was back in a place where I could get it out, chipped up and missed the putt."

ACE FOR SENDEN: Australia's John Senden is having a nice two-week stretch. Just last week he earned his maiden PGA Tour win at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill., and that victory gave him a last-minute spot here this week.

And while he's not going to win the Open -- he was even-par through three rounds -- Senden will at least have one great memory: a hole-in-one on the 198-yard, par-3 13th hole.

"That was nice," he said. "I hit a 6-iron. It was exciting. I didn't see it go in as there was a hill just short of the green and all I could see was the top half of the flag and it bounced short, rolled up and went in. Pretty good cheer."

Senden's ace was the second of the week. Richard Sterne recorded one on the 161-yard 15th on Friday.

Senden has 10 aces in his career with five of them coming in competition.

VERPLANK LOVES LINKS GOLF: American Scott Verplank, a Ryder Cup hopeful, carded his best round of the week on Saturday with a 5-under-par 67. That put him at 6-under 210 for the championship and -- even though it's a long shot -- a chance in the final round.

"I love playing over here as it examines your whole game," he said. "You have to hit high shots, low shots, curve it into the wind. I am saddened that we don't get to play more of this and we don't have [too many courses] that basically challenge every shot that a guy can have."

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