SOUTH BEND — Steve Stricker hasn't forgotten that he missed a potential tournament-winning putt last weekend.

"I've still got a little tinge of orneriness," Stricker said. "I think it is (a good thing)."

It's been a bad thing for everyone competing against him at the U.S. Senior Open this weekend at Notre Dame's Warren Golf Course.

Stricker shot a 4-under-par 66 in Saturday's third round, his second-straight round without a bogey. His 18-under score for the tournament set a 54-hole U.S. Senior Open scoring record, and left him six shots ahead of second-place Jerry Kelly.

Kelly defeated Stricker and Retief Goosen in a playoff last Sunday to win the American Family Insurance Championship, but Stricker has made it look unlikely that more than 72 holes will be needed to determine this weekend's winner.

"(Stricker) can pick apart a golf course," Kelly said. "I'm going to have to play flawless. I mean, flawless. And I'm going to have to make a lot of putts.

"It's going to be a tough catching up with that guy. He's just doing all the right things."

David Toms was third at 11-under and Bob Estes fourth at 10-under.

Stricker's only bogey of the tournament came on No. 6 in the opening round. Since then, he's gone 48 holes without one. He said he has no plans to make any changes in today's final round.

"I think I'm just going to keep doing the same things I've been doing," Stricker said. "My whole objective is to get it in the fairway and see what pins I feel comfortable shooting at or steering away from. That's been the game plan, and I've been putting well."

Scores weren't as low on Saturday as they were through the first two rounds. Only Stephen Ames and Ken Duke matched Stricker's 4-under for low round of the day, and Kelly and Toms both shot even par.

"The course toughened up a little bit today," Stricker said. "The wind was coming from a different direction. Greens firmed up. Some of the pin locations were a little bit tougher, and you could tell in the scoring, too."

Stricker, 52, has split his schedule between the regular PGA Tour and the 50-and-over PGA Tour Champions in recent years.

"He's obviously playing well," said Kirk Triplett, who was tied for fifth with Ames and three others at 7-under. "He was in a playoff last week. He's playing against 155 guys that he's beat before. It's sort of a drawer's golf course. I think there are a lot of things working in his favor. 

"And he's good. He's really good. He's got a chance to dominate out here (on the PGA Tour Champions) if he decides to play out here. We haven't had that in a while."

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