EDMOND — Oak Tree National won Saturday.
Now, who will win Sunday?
On a day that the wind was high and the temperatures were higher, the scores followed suit. Only three players in the remaining field of 66 at the U.S. Senior Open shot rounds that were under par.
“Just nasty conditions out there,” Rocco Mediate said.
Here’s how nasty — Mediate was 3-under on his round at one point Saturday but back-to-back bogeys to finish left him at even par for the day and 2-over for the tournament.
And yet, he’s still on the leaderboard.
Only seven golfers are under par heading into Sunday’s final round, led by Gene Sauers. He sits 7-under, three shots ahead of Bernhard Langer and Scott Dunlap and four shots ahead of Colin Montgomerie.
The first tee time is 7:20 a.m. Sunday with the leaders teeing off at 12:40 p.m.
Montgomerie was the leader after Day 1 and Day 2, but after carding birdies on two of his first four holes and getting to 8-under, he bogeyed six of the last 14 holes. He finished 3-over on the day and stands 3-under for the tournament.
Montgomerie and everyone else in the field will now be chasing Sauers. He is the only player in the field who has been under par every day of the tournament, but it wasn’t easy Saturday. Sauers woke up with a fever.
“I just kept telling my caddie, ‘Give me that towel so I can keep cool,’” Sauers said. “I just kind of mustered everything up.”
If Sauers holds onto his lead, he will win a golf tournament for the first time in more than a decade. Once a regular on the PGA Tour, he walked away from golf out of frustration in 2005, then developed a spate of serious medical conditions that nearly killed him. While he lay in a hospital in 2011, he decided that if he ever got out of that bed, he wanted to play golf again.
Sunday, Sauers has a chance to win the first major tournament of his career.
“He swings the club beautifully,” said Jeff Sluman, who has been friends with Sauers for years. “I can remember years ago somebody asking me if I wanted somebody’s swing ... who would it be? And Gene Sauers is the name I gave them.
“What he’s gone through is really incredible, and we’re very happy to have him out here playing well.”
Whoever wins this U.S. Senior Open on this extremely difficult Oak Tree National course will have played well. You have to in order to survive the narrow fairways, the thick rough and the tiny greens.
Winds and temperatures that were as high Saturday as they’ve been all week made a tough course all the tougher. And the highest temperatures are forecast for Sunday, approaching triple digits.
“The golf course is more difficult,” Sluman said, “and getting more difficult by the day.”
But even if Oak Tree wins again Sunday, a U.S. Senior Open winner will also be crowned. The trophy presentation will be held around 5 p.m.