Even after struggling on his way to the clubhouse, Ed Dougherty is 18 holes from winning the U.S. Senior Open in West Des Moines, Iowa.
It would help if he forgets about yesterday's round. Although Dougherty bogeyed two of his last three holes, his 3-over 75 was still enough to hold a one-stroke lead after three rounds.
Dougherty's 54-hole score of 4-under 212 was one stroke better than Bruce Summerhays, defending champion Hale Irwin and Dave Eichelberger.
Gil Morgan was at 214, Joe Inman at 215 and three were tied at even-par 216.
Summerhays and Irwin built momentum for today's final round, each charging with late birdies to shoot 70s. Summerhays birdied No. 17 while Irwin birdied the 16th and 17th and barely missed a 12-foot birdie putt at the 18th.
"The position I'm in, it's not too bad," Irwin said. "I have the capability of coming from behind to win, and I've done it before."
It wasn't a great day for Dougherty, who reached 7 under after two rounds by blitzing the back nine through 36 holes. His 30 on the back nine Thursday tied a U.S. Senior Open record for nine holes, and he followed with a 33 Friday.
Yesterday, Dougherty made the turn at 1-over 37, hindered by a double bogey at the fifth. It seemed the back nine would protect him again when he made pars from the 10th to the 15th, but he bogeyed the 16th and 17th.
Dougherty, winless in his second season on the Senior PGA Tour, is trying to become the first player to win the Senior Open wire-to-wire since Simon Hobday broke away from a first-round tie in 1994.
* EUROPEAN TOUR: Colin Montgomerie stole the spotlight from Spanish rookie Sergio Garcia with a masterful 64 that carried him from four strokes back to a three-stroke victory in the Loch Lomond tournament in Glasgow, Scotland.
Although he started and finished with bogeys, the Scot had a run of nine birdies in 12 holes in the middle of his round to gain his first individual victory on his native Scottish soil.
"How could I possibly feel any better than I do right now," he said after his final round before playing in the British Open on the other coast at Carnoustie.
"I can only go into the British Open with confidence, and that's what many players can't say."
Montgomerie won with a 268 total, three strokes better than the 19-year-old Garcia and Swedes Mats Lanner and Michael Jonzon.
"I just feel very proud right now to have won on the western coast of Scotland where I'm from," Montgomerie said of his third victory of the season.
"Of all the victories, and I think that's 20 now, this has to be the most special."
The cheers from his adoring gallery became louder by the hole as the Scot overtook eight players ahead of him and charged to the top of the leader board.
"It got quite emotional out there when I realized I had gone ahead, but I still managed to hit the ball exactly in the right directions and, at 15 and 16, I got the perfect yardages. At 16 we had 203, and I hit 203," Montgomerie said.
* PGA: What could be more perfect than getting your first PGA Tour victory in your home state?
Jerry Kelly just might find out today.
Kelly, a native of Madison, Wis., has played 54 holes in the Greater Milwaukee Open without making a bogey. In front of enthusiastic galleries, Kelly took a one-stroke tournament lead with a 5-under-par 66.
The last time a player won a PGA event without making a bogey was in 1974, when Lee Trevino won the Greater New Orleans Open. Kelly, who is still looking for his first victory in four years on tour, is more concerned with victory than with carving out a slice of history.
"I don't think I've had three bogey-free rounds all year, much less in the same tournament," Kelly said. "It really doesn't matter if I make a bogey tomorrow. I'll go out and make some birdies. I'm just striking the ball real well."
Carlos Franco finished with a three-day total of 198 after a 67, one stroke behind Kelly and two ahead of Tom Lehman and Chris Perry. Lehman shot 65 and Perry a 67.
Lehman, whose 6-under round was his best yet, has shifted his focus from winning Ryder Cup points to possibly winning the tournament.
"Well, the winner gets 150 [Ryder Cup] points," Lehman said.
* LPGA: Tina Barrett is poised to end a long drought.
Barrett's only career victory on the LPGA Tour came in 1989 in Cranston, R.I. After firing a 2-under-par 70 in the third round of the Michelob Light Classic in St. Louis, she's in position to win again. Her 10-under-par 206 leads the pack by a shot.
"To win would mean a great deal to me," Barrett said. "It's hard to put into words. But if I'm able to do it, I'll be happy to come in here and try tomorrow."
CAPTION: Ed Dougherty cheers putt on No. 1 but had to endure two bogeys over final three holes en route to 3-over 75.