Clarke has chance to emulate Player, Charles and Watson as Broadhurst eyes his own British double at Gleneagles   

Darren Clarke has a chance to join elite company by adding the Senior Open to his 2011 Claret Jug from Royal St George’s. Paul Broadhurst is equally well positioned to claim his third senior major and second at the over-50s equivalent of The Open.

The duo will start the final round of the 35th Senior Open presented by Rolex tied on -9 but this is far from a two-horse race on the King’s Course at Gleneagles, not with consistent Kiwi Steve Alker and quirky American Jerry Kelly luring just a shot back.

Throw Ernie Els, Pádraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie, Stuart Appleby and Thongchai Jaidee into the mix at -6 and serial seniors winner Bernhard Lanher and South African James Kingston just four back on -5, and Sunday is going to be a fun day for the galleries in Perthshire and tuning into Scotland from afar.

Clarke started moving day with a two-stroke lead and eased his way to -10 before a pair of back-to-back bogeys on 12 and 13. In the end, the 53-year-old Northern Irishman was thankful to remain in equal pole-position after a closing birdie saw him settle for a sodden one-under 69.

Clarke is looking to be just the fourth player after Gary Player, Sir Bob Charles and Tom Watson to win both The Open and Senior Open and he is determined to get over the line after leading for 36 holes last year and finishing third behind Stephen Dodd.

“It would be pretty cool to have both of them sitting beside each other,” he said. “I would love to win The Senior Open as well as The Open.

“Tomorrow I give myself an opportunity again. I did it last year and I gave myself an opportunity. Felt like I didn’t quite play well enough on Sunday.

“Doddy came through and played great. Hopefully hit a couple more putts and give myself a better chance coming down the last few holes.

“I was really pleased with the way I played today. I was conservative, I played away from quite a few flags but still gave myself enough opportunities. I just didn’t make them.”

Broadhurst signed for a closing 68 at Carnoustie en route to lifting the trophy in 2016 and suspects a low number will be needed again on Sunday. He carded an impressive 66 in Saturday’s soggy conditions, mixing six birdies and two bogeys.

“Just look at the leaderboard, some top names right behind me,” said Broadhurst of a chasing pack with 10 major championships between them.

“I’m under no illusions, I’m going to have to go out and shoot a number tomorrow.

“I don’t think the forecast is particularly good. I don’t mind the wind and the rain is OK if it’s not blowing but if you get both, it’s brutal. But we’ll see tomorrow.”

Alker, who carded a 66 Saturday, has been a story of this season’s PGA Tour Champions. The New Zealander leads the Charles Schwab Cup race with $2.2 million in earnings courtesy of three wins including a breakthrough senior major title at the Senior PGA Championship last month.

Kelly, a three-time PGA Tour winner, signed for a 67 and is a man in form. The 55-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin claimed his ninth and 10th PGA Tour Champions titles en route to Scotland, the latter the Senior Players Championship.

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