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Perry shoots into contention at senior Open

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OMAHA, Neb. -- Kenny Perry went for broke, and now he is back in contention for a second straight win in a senior major.

Perry shot a 6-under-par 64 at the Omaha Country Club on Saturday and, along with Fred Funk, will go into the final round of the U.S. Senior Open two shots behind leader Michael Allen.

Perry, who was 10 shots off the lead after a 73 on Friday, figured he would need to halve the deficit to have a chance today. He posted nines of 32-32 and got some help from Allen, who went from 63 on Friday to 72 on Saturday and was at 8-under 202.

"I was in that rocking-chair seat," Perry said. "I was in a very aggressive mode, where if I go out and play great today, I've got a chance to move my way up the leaderboard. Or if I don't play any good, it's OK, too."

It looked as if Funk, the 2009 champion, might fade after taking a double-bogey on No. 10. But he birdied the last two holes for a 67, rolling in a 35-foot putt on the 18th. Suddenly, he was right back in the tournament, too.

"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 2-shot lead to start the week, I would have been pretty thrilled to have it, I'm sure."

The 54-year-old Allen has been playing through neck pain. He rubbed the right side of his neck Saturday as he walked up the last two fairways. He saved par on the 17th but bogeyed No. 18 to set the stage for a dramatic finish.

"For a guy who's never had an injury, this has kind of been interesting for me, to see what guys have to go through," Allen said. "I'm trying to get through it. It's still tight."

Rocco Mediate, who was Allen's closest pursuer at the tournament's midway point, had bogeys on four of five holes in the middle of his round and sat five shots off the lead after a 72.

Park on birdie rampage

WATERLOO, Ont. -- The course was dry but the greens remained soft at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic on Saturday.

Players aimed straight at the pins for a third straight day and the scoreboard was loaded with low scores as a result.

South Korea's Hee Young Park shot a career-low 61 to move into sole possession of top spot at Grey Silo Golf Course. Her 20-under-par 193 total left her one shot up on American Angela Stanford and two strokes ahead of Scotland's Catriona Matthew.

With 21 players already in double digits at 10 under or better and course conditions likely to stay the same, expect a shootout today.

"When you see everybody going low, you have to go with them or you're going to get left behind," Stanford said.

Park's three-round score was the best 54-hole total on tour this year and it was just the 11th time a play has shot 61 in tour history. She almost went one better -- nearly chipping in for eagle on the 18th before tapping in a short putt for her sixth birdie on the back nine alone.

"I finished really well, finished (with) the birdie, so it's going to be fun tomorrow," she said.

Matthew (68) started the day with a three-shot lead on Stanford (64) but fell back with a double-bogey on the par-3 12th hole. She followed with a birdie and got another stroke back with a birdie on the final hole.

Stenson gets hot

INVERNESS, Scotland -- Henrik Stenson kept a resurgent Phil Mickelson at arm's length at the Scottish Open by shooting a 6-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round on Saturday.

Mickelson was in a group of four players in a tie for second after making six birdies in his last 11 holes for a 66, leaving the American talking up his improving links game ahead of next week's British Open.

Branden Grace and first-round leader John Parry were in that group with Mickelson after two more 66s, with unheralded Dane J.B. Hansen (69) making up the quartet.

Stenson, on 16 under par, has emerged from a prolonged slump and is showing the kind of consistent form that took the Swede to No. 4 in 2009.

"I wouldn't say I'm far off that," said Stenson, who was as low as No. 230 in the rankings 18 months ago.

"The way I played today, that was top-10 (in the world) standard. It's as good as I have hit the ball all season."

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 14, 2013 B12

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