Bruce Lietzke has shot lower than 64, but never with so much riding on it.
One of the best rounds of Lietzke’s 29-year pro career powered him to a four-stroke lead through Saturday’s third round of the U.S. Senior Open at Toledo, Ohio.
Lietzke’s seven-under-par 64 at the Inverness Club left him at nine-under 204 heading into the final round. He has never won a major championship, although he has had close calls over a long and productive career.
“I’ve had 62s on the PGA and Champions Tours,” he said. “I’ve had tons of good rounds. But figuring how hard the golf course is ... that’s probably the greatest round I’ve ever had.”
Vicente Fernandez, who started the day with a one-stroke lead over Tom Watson, shot a 71 and was deadlocked with Watson for second place at five-under 208. Watson had a 70 that included pars on his final 10 holes.
Lietzke opened and closed his round with birdies. In between, he never seemed to be out of position and seldom hit a bad shot -- or at least one from which he couldn’t recover.
His 64 was five strokes better than the next best score in the third round -- just as Fernandez’s 64 was the day before.
Lietzke played the final 10 holes in six under, again and again pulling off stunning shots as he skirted trouble with sometimes errant drives.
Lietzke won 13 times on the PGA Tour and has won six more tournaments since joining the senior circuit in 2001. He tied for third behind John Jacobs earlier this year at the Senior PGA Championship, the first major of the year.
Angela Stanford shot a four-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic, with Annika Sorenstam four shots back.
Stanford, who came into the day sharing the lead with two others, used solid iron play and putting to card five birdies en route to a two-day total of 132 at Galloway Township, N.J.
Four players were one shot behind her, including two-time ShopRite Classic champion Juli Inkster.
Sorenstam, the tour’s No. 1 player and the defending champion, roared back into contention after a lackluster opening round, shooting a 66.
Hawaiian phenom Michelle Wie, 13, was 11 strokes back after a one-over 72. She made the cut by a stroke as she continued to struggle with her putting.
“I feel frustrated and bummed out that I didn’t play better,” said Wie, who shot par in the opening round.
Sweden’s Richard Johnson shot a steady two-under 69, giving the PGA Tour rookie a one-stroke lead over David Toms after three rounds of the St. Jude Classic at Memphis, Tenn.
Johnson, trying to win his first PGA Tour title in only his 14th start, had a 14-under 199 total. Toms birdied two of his final three holes for a 65. He will be looking for his second victory this year and ninth in his career.
Tim Herron (65), Lee Janzen (67), Fredrik Jacobson (68) and David Peoples (70) were two strokes back.
Ben Crane (64) was at 202, and Notah Begah (64) and third-round co-leader John Huston (73) were in a group at 203.
Defending champion Nico Bollini shot a one-over 73 at Torrey Pines’ South Course and carries a three-shot lead into the final round of the 104th Southern California Amateur.
Bollini, a 20-year-old USC junior, is at 208, eight under, after three rounds. His closest pursuer is UCLA junior Roy Moon, who shot a 72 and is at 211.