Capricious Winds Blow Lietzkes Way Again


With scores bobbing up and down like a kite in the stiff breezes in Oklahoma City Saturday, Bruce Lietzke clung to his narrow lead at Gaillardia Country Club in the Senior Tour Championship.
Lietzke battled the tricky zephyrs for a 3-under-par 69, giving him a 13-under score for the tournament at 204. He leads by one stroke over Bob Gilder at 11-under and by four over Gil Morgan at 8-under. At 7-under are Tom Kite, Doug Tewell and Walter Hall.
Today was a little different golf course, said Gilder. There was a little more wind coming from a different direction, and the holes play different from what we have seen this week. It was a whole new look. Some of them played real tough.
Lietzke started at 10-under and quickly got to 12-under with birdies at Nos. 2 and 4. He eventually bogeyed his way back to 10-under with a couple of miscues in the hard-to-fathom winds, but righted himself with three more birdies over the last five holes.
He felt that 69 was a bad score, though, compared to what he should have shot. But the fact remains that only three players shot a lower score Saturday.
More than anything, Im disappointed at some of the greens I missed, said Lietzke. Especially because I was coming out of the fairways most of the times. I still think I could have scored pretty well today if I had hit my irons better. I think I should have been hitting it in not only on the green, but a lot closer.
I think 5-under was a realistic score today. With the good start that I got off to (two birdies on the first four holes), that was certainly within reason. But also I didnt quite have my putting touch today. I missed three or four of my putts when they lost their speed as they got close to the hole and broke away.
Lietzke did birdie the difficult 16th when he smoked a 3-iron to within three feet and sank the putt. He then birdied the par-5 18th by hitting the green in two shots and then two-putting.
Gilder refused to go away for the third consecutive day, eventually pulling to within one shot of the lead when he birded 17 and wound up with an eagle on the par-5 No. 18.
I hit a real good shot and a real good putt on 17, he said. And then I figured I could close the gap on 18 a little more, if he (Lietzke) didnt go nuts the way he did on 16, knocking that 3-iron in there stiff.
Gilder hit driver and a 5-iron on the par-5 final hole. He had 232 yards on the shot, but, I thought it might fly, so I didnt want to hit a 4. If it came up a little short, that would be okay. And if it caught the bunker, that would be okay. But it got on the green and rolled all the way up to 12 feet behind the hole.
A one-putt would give him the eagle and leave him just one behind Lietke.
Lietzkes lead makes it more-or-less a two-man race between him and Gilder, with Morgan still hanging around in case either stumbles.
He (Lietzke) has been a pretty good player for a long time, said Morgan. He doesnt try to do things that he cant do.
But maybe the winds will blow again tomorrow and the long putter (of Lietzkes) will wear him out.
Gilder faces the prospect, too, of making up a shot.
I just wanted to give Bruce a little competition tomorrow, he said. I wanted to make him work a little bit. Whoever wins will have to work really hard.
Full-field scores from the Senior Tour Championship