Lee Trevino opened the door a crack yesterday, and Jack Nicklaus came strolling through.
Nicklaus punished the par-5's at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., with an eagle and three birdies, took advantage of Trevino's lapse and took a one-stroke lead entering the final round of the 11th U.S. Senior Open.
Trevino, Gary Player, who beat both Trevino and Nicklaus in the PGA Seniors earlier this year, and Jim Dent are tied for second. Nicklaus, winner of two of three previous seniors starts, shot five-under-par 67 for a 207 total, nine-under par, after three rounds.
"I'll have to play good, five- or six-under to have a shot," said Trevino, winner of five Senior Tour titles this year. "I know him like a book. Jack will shoot 68."
Trevino led or shared the lead until what he called "a dumb play" on the 18th hole. He put his second shot into a bunker and made the bogey that made Nicklaus the sole leader. "I knew what I had to do, shoot 68 or 69. I shot 73," Trevino said, and shrugged. "That's golf."
Player had a 68 that could have been better, and Dent salvaged a 72 despite needing 15 stitches after catching the index finger on his right hand in a door yesterday morning.
Miller Barber, the only three-time winner of the U.S. Senior Open, closed with a 67 and and at 210, six-under par. He was followed by Don Bies at 67-211.
Nicklaus came from five shots back by dominating the long holes and hitting long-range putts. Nicklaus birdied the par-5 second from 20 feet, scored eagle-3 on the fourth with a 45-footer, got his third shot close on the 13th and made birdie-4, then got a share of the lead with an 18-foot putt for birdie-4 on the 17th.
Greater Hartford Open: Brad Fabel sank a 45-foot pitch shot for birdie on the 16th hole, highlighting a round of 67 that tied with fast-closing Nolan Henke after 54 holes at the Tournament Players Club of Connecticut in Cromwell. Neither Fabel nor Henke has won on the PGA Tour.
Fabel was at 10-under when his 7-iron tee shot to the 172-yard 16th went into the right rough behind a bunker. Facing the possibility of bogey, he used a pitching wedge to get over the sand and onto the green, and the ball rolled straight into the cup.
Henke birdied the last four holes for a 67 that tied Fabel at 199, 11 under par for the par-70, 6,531-yard course.
At 200 were Wayne Levi and John Cook, both with 67s, and first-round leader Chris Perry, who had a 68. Eighteen players were within four strokes of the lead.
Fabel, 34 and in his sixth year on the PGA Tour, started with bogeys on the third and fifth holes, then began a comeback with a birdie on the 343-yard, par-4 seventh.
Henke, 25 and in his second Tour season, fell to seven under with a bogey at 14 before charging back on the last four holes.
Du Maurier Classic: Cathy Johnston shot a 70 and increased her lead to four shots over Patti Rizzo and Patty Sheehan after three rounds of the du Maurier Classic championship. Johnston, 26, was at 205, 14-under par, in the second of the LPGA's four major tournaments over the rolling, 6,415-yard Westmount Golf and Country Club in Kitchener, Ontario.
Rizzo (73) and Sheehan (70) were at 10-under 209, while Liselotte Neumann of Sweden was at 70 -- 210.
Beth Daniel (71), Missie McGeorge (67, the day's best) and Silvia Berteotti (69) were each at eight-under 211.
Johnston and Rizzo were tied after Rizzo birdied the third hole. Both played at par through the 10th, but Johnston then birdied four of the next five holes. Johnston, who Thursday tied the competitive course record with a 65, stretched the lead to five before a bogey on the 17th.