Watson takes sole lead

Watson takes sole lead

Fisher, Goggin lie in joint second place

Watson takes sole lead

The 59-year-old American was the star attraction at the Ailsa Course for the third day running, shooting a one-over-par 71 for a four-under total of 206 to move one stroke clear of Australian Mathew Goggin (69) and Briton Ross Fisher (70).

Sharing fourth place on 208 were twice US Open champion Retief Goosen (71) and former European number one Lee Westwood (70).

The five-times winner Watson, attempting to break the record of compatriot Julius Boros who won the 1968 US PGA Championship at the age of 48, was given an ovation on every hole and repaid the galleries with an awe-inspiring performance.

Watson's ball-striking was exemplary and his putting as pure as silk as he opened with five pars in a row.

He dropped his first shot after finding an awkward lie in a greenside bunker at the sixth before rattling in a 12-foot birdie putt at the next. Watson looked as if he might run out of puff when he bogeyed the ninth, 12th and 15th.

However, the old maestro coaxed in a 30-footer for a birdie three at the 16th before taking advantage of a lucky bounce off the side of the green to safely two-putt for a birdie four at the 17th.

Six years after being blown away by Watson's golf, 35-year-old journeyman Goggin shrugged off two early bogeys with a homeward nine of two-under 33 thanks to birdies at the 11th and 17th.

Leading scores (after 54 holes, US unless stated): 206: Tom Watson (65, 70, 71); 207: Mathew Goggin (Aus) (66, 72, 69), Ross Fisher (Bri) (69, 68, 70); 208: Lee Westwood (Bri) (68, 70, 70), Retief Goosen (SA) (67, 70, 71); 209: Jim Furyk (67, 72, 70), Stewart Cink (66, 72, 71).