OMAHA, Neb. – Kenny Perry and Fred Funk made charges in the U.S. Senior Open, each pulling within two shots of leader Michael Allen with one round to go on Saturday.
Perry, going for a second straight win in a senior major, shot 6-under-par 64 to match Corey Pavin for the low round at Omaha Country Club. Funk shot 67 after making a long birdie putt on No. 18.
Allen, who had a 63 on Friday, ballooned to a 2-over 72. He started the day with a five-stroke advantage over Rocco Mediate. It was the largest lead after 36 holes in the tournament's 34-year history.
Allen was at 8-under 202 for the tournament.
Pavin, who tied for second in last year's tournament, was two shots behind Perry and Funk and four behind Allen.
Mediate faded with bogeys on four of five holes in the middle of his round and sat five shots off the lead after a 72.
Allen said on Friday he had been playing through neck pain. He rubbed the right side of his neck on Saturday as he walked up the 17th fairway. He saved par there, but he bogeyed the 18th to set the stage for a dramatic finish on Sunday.
Allen still led by five after nine holes, but it was down to three after he bogeyed Nos. 10 and 11.
Perry, 10 shots behind Allen after the second round, had nines of 32-32 on Saturday. He started his push with an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole. He was the only golfer to birdie the 501-yard, par-4 10th. He drove into the rough but recovered with a pitching wedge to 20 feet.
Perry birdied the par-3 16th and the 297-yard, par-4 17th to get to six under for the tournament.
"I birdied the first two holes right out of the gate, kind of set the tone for the day, and it was foot to the floor," Perry said. "I was trying to birdie every hole out there, and I had so many great opportunities. I mean, I played a phenomenal day. It could have been 59."
Funk, the 2009 winner, started his round seven shots off the lead. He birdied Nos. 2, 6 and 7 to get to 6 under.
He recovered from a double bogey on No. 10 with birdies on three of the last five holes.
On the 18th, he seemed to surprise himself when his 35-foot birdie putt dropped. He turned to the gallery, lifted his left leg, raised his right fist and gave it a pump after the putt dropped.
"To make that putt on 18 was a bonus," Funk said. "Having that good finish was great. At least it kept me in the game."
Allen, a journeyman on the regular tour and a four-time winner since joining the senior tour in 2009, started with a 5-shot lead – the largest after 36 holes in the tournament's 34-year history.
He went out in even-par 35, but he bogeyed three holes on the back nine and came in with a 37.
"Obviously, yesterday was a lot of fun. I made a lot of birdies and very few bogeys," Allen said. "Today I had a few more bads than goods, but it's fun. It's nice to be in the lead. If you'd have given me a two-shot lead to start the week, I would have been pretty thrilled to have it, I'm sure."
The 6,700-yard course had surrendered just one sub-67 round before Saturday. There were five in the third round, and 27 golfers broke par.