Lee Trevino knew it would happen if he left the door ajar.
Trevino struggled to a one-over-par 73 Sunday and watched Jack Nicklaus pass him to take the third-round lead in the U.S. Senior Open with a 67 at Paramus, N.J.
"I figured if I shot 67 today, I'd probably still be a couple back," Nicklaus said. "Obviously, Lee helped me.
"Tomorrow? I could shoot 72 and win; I could shoot 67 and lose. Gary and Lee and I can't get to playing each other. If we do, Dent or somebody else can blow right past us."
Nicklaus registered an eagle and three birdies on the par-5 holes, and took advantage of Trevino's lapse on the 18th hole to take a one-stroke lead over Trevino, Gary Player and Jim Dent. He has a 207 total, nine-under par, after three rounds.
Trevino led or shared the lead until he committed what he called "a dumb play" on the 18th hole. He put his second shot into a bunker and made the bogey that gave Nicklaus sole possession of the lead.
"I knew what I had to do, shoot 68 or 69," Trevino said. "I shot 73. That's golf."
Player, who had a 68, will be paired with Nicklaus in today's final round.
Just ahead of them will be Trevino and Dent, who had a 72 despite 15 stitches in his right index finger, which he caught in the door of his hotel room.
"We've played together many times over the years, often against each other in major championships," Player said, referring to fellow Hall of Fame members Nicklaus and Trevino.
"It should be exciting."
Said Trevino: "I'll have to play good, five or six under to have a shot. I know him like a book. Jack will shoot 68."
Miller Barber, the only three-time winner of the U.S. Senior Open, closed with a 67 and and was alone at 210, six-under par. He was followed by Don Bies at 67 for 211.
Cathy Johnston shot a three-under-par 70 and increased her lead to four shots over Patti Rizzo and Patty Sheehan after three rounds of the du Maurier tournament at Kitchener, Ontario.
Johnston, 26, was at 205, 14-under-par, in the second of the LPGA's four major tournaments.
Rizzo (73) and Sheehan (70) were at 209, and Liselotte Neumann of Sweden (70) was at 210. Beth Daniel (71), Missie McGeorge (67) and Silvia Berteotti (69) were each at 211.
Johnston and Rizzo, playing in the same group, were tied for the lead after Rizzo birdied the third hole. They played par golf through the 10th, but Johnston caught fire with birdies on four of the next five holes.
Brad Fabel sank a 45-foot pitch shot for a birdie on the 16th hole and was tied for the lead with Nolan Henke after 54 holes of the Greater Hartford Open at Cromwell, Conn.
Each had three-under-par 67 and a score of 199 to lead by one stroke after three rounds. Henke birdied the last four holes to get a share of the lead.
At 200 were Wayne Levi and John Cook, who each shot 67, and first-round leader Chris Perry, who had a 68.