Paul Broadhurst waits out rain delays, opens two-shot lead at Senior PGA Championship
May 26--ROCHESTER -- Paul Broadhurst doesn't appear ready to relinquish the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy, given annually to the winner of the Senior PGA Championship.
The 53-year-old from Walsall, England, will take a two-shot lead into the final round at Oak Hill Country Club on Sunday, where he'll be looking to successfully defend his title won last year at Harbor Shores in Michigan.
Broadhurst shot a final-round 63 a year ago to win this event, matching the lowest 72-hole total in the tournament's 79-year history with a 19-under 265. He won't come close to matching that number this year on the unrelenting East Course. A total of just six players are under par through 54 holes, led by Broadhurst at 6-under following a second straight round of 3-under 67 Saturday.
"Yeah, this has never been a 19-under course," Broadhurst said after his third round.
Even with tee times moved up, play was still halted twice in the third round for weather delays that totaled more than three hours.
On a golf course that demands patience, that's a lot of waiting.
"I think the tough one was to go back out and play the last three holes," Broadhurst said. "You know, tough three holes to play. So I was pleased to play those in level par coming in, although I missed a reasonable chance on 18."
Broadhurst has now gone 38 holes without a bogey, a remarkable achievement on such a demanding track.
"I'm obviously delighted," he said. "Another bogey-free round. Doesn't happen very often back to back, bogey-free rounds, especially around a course like this. A lot of it is because I've played sensibly. I haven't necessarily gone at flags. Got a little bit fortunate on a couple of holes today. Made a couple of nice putts for par and managed another chip-in for birdie."
Broadhurst's best par save came right out of the gate. He drew a brutal lie in the rough on the first hole, then missed the green with his second shot. A clumsy chip left him a 20-foot downhill par putt.
"I'm thinking 'don't start with the double. Just lag it.' I lagged it, and it went straight in the middle," he said. "So it was a great start."
The first weather delay arrived at 10:12 a.m., with Broadhurst having just hit his tee shot on the 411-yard, par-4 fifth hole.
"It's probably one of the hardest tee shots, No. 5, out there," he said.
Broadhurst managed to split the fairway, though, meaning he had a routine 8-iron to the green when play resumed.
"I hit two good 8-irons into five and six," he said. They "sort of settled me down and got me back into it, really."
After three pars to start his round, Broadhurst birdied the par-5 fourth hole with a chip-in from off the green.
"I thought I hit a good third shot in with a wedge, and it caught the downslope, shot it through the back of the green into the rough behind the flag," he said. "I played it perfectly, I just had to let the weight of the club drop on the ball and just hope it popped out, and it popped out perfectly and it fell down in the hole."
He added another birdie on the sixth hole after the delay, then reached 6-under with a birdie from 12 feet on the par-4 10th hole. Broadhurst has birdied No. 10 in all three rounds so far.
"I made some nice putts today," he said. "I dried up towards the end. I had a couple of chances at 14 and 18. But happy with 3-under and bogey-free again."
Broadhurst has given himself a chance to become the first player to repeat as Senior PGA champion since Colin Montgomerie did it in 2014-15. There have been repeat champions seven times in the 79-year history of the event, including Hale Irwin's three-year run from 1996-98.
Broadhurst will tee off at 1:50 p.m. Sunday in the final round. He'll be paired with Champions Tour rookie Retief Goosen, who shot a 3-under 67 Saturday and is in second place at 4-under 206.
Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open champion, has not won since the 2009 Transitions Championship, his last of seven PGA Tour victories.
"It's been a while since I've been in this sort of position when the butterflies are flying a little," he said. "So it's something you have to get used to and try and calm yourself down and find a nice rhythm out there and play well."
Goosen did that Saturday, steadying himself after a bogey on the par-4 second hole dropped him to even par for the championship. He rebounded by sinking a 15-foot birdie put on the par-5 fourth before the delay. After returning to the course, he made a birdie on the par-four seventh hole and followed that up with another one on the par-four ninth.
After the second delay, which lasted about 40 minutes, Goosen returned to the course and chipped in for birdie on the par-4 16th hole.
"Coming back out, I felt calm and sort of relaxed," he said. "I mean, we got perfect conditions out there. The course is as good as it can play. So I didn't feel all that ... stressed about the conditions or anything. I felt there were birdies to be made out there."
Goosen is seeking his first victory in his eighth start on the Champions Tour.
"He's a great player. Hits it miles," Broadhurst said. "I'm going to have to be on my best game and more than likely have to shoot under par again. But you never know. It's such a tough golf course that level par tomorrow might be good enough, but I've just got to go out there, try and play exactly as I have played the last three days -- sensibly. I'm not going to say attack, but attack when you can and then (play) defensively when you have to."
Both Broadhurst and Goosen have said the key to navigating the East Course is to hit fairways. Broadhurst has done that exceptionally well, ranking second with 32 of 42 (76.2 percent) fairways hit through three rounds. Goosen hasn't been quite as accurate off the tee, hitting 24 of 42 fairways. He ranks second in the field in driving distance, however, at 276.2 yards. That has helped him hit 38 of 54 (70.4 percent) greens in regulation, tied for second best in the field.
"I just have to try and stay calm tomorrow," Goosen said. "I'll probably try and hit a few more 3-woods tomorrow than drivers, just to make sure you hit the fairway and give yourself (a chance) to hit the green."
The best round of the day Saturday was a 4-under 66, carded by both Ken Tanigawa and Corey Pavin. Tanigawa is in third place at 3-under, while Pavin -- who holed a 70-foot birdie putt on the ninth green -- is tied for fifth at 1-under. Champions Tour money leader Scott McCarron is also in contention after a 3-under 67 Saturday moved him to 2-under for the tournament and fourth place.
The only other player under par is John Riegger. He entered the field as an alternate after Ian Woosnam withdrew, and shot 1-under 69 Saturday.
Esteban Toledo, who entered Saturday as the 36-hole co-leader with Broadhurst, dropped down to seventh after a round of 4-over 74.