CESAR Monasterio found the magic touch to climb clear of the rest during a blistering second round at the English Senior Open today – and he equalled the course record in the process.
The Argentine, who had started the day two shots adrift of the overnight leader Jamie Spence, always had something extra on the second day to finish at the top of the leaderboard. Three late birdies were the ideal was to card a stunning 63.
That was enough to equal the course best set by reigning champion Steen Tinning last October and it included birdies at all of the par fives on the course.
On only his fifth outing on the European Senior Tour, his second round in County Durham included ten birdies and one bogey to earn him a 12-under par tournament total going in to the final round at Rockliffe Hall on Sunday.
Fifty-year-old Monasterio, whose only European Tour win was at the Omer Open in 2006, had Castle Eden golfer Gary Spalding on his bag, and the South American said: “I changed my irons to a heavier shaft and they made me deadly!
“My putting was very good and it was a great to have a caddy like Gary on my bag, he is a three handicapper and he can play for me tomorrow! He was very good. Perfect.
“I am going to have to concentrate on Sunday and try to play exactly the same as I have today. I am feeling good. I played really well. Hopefully it continues. I felt like I needed to change my shafts and I ended up with the course record. It’s great.”
Monasterio holed a testing 20ft putt on the 17th and came within a few inches of eagling the 16th when his approach almost dropped in the hole on the 553-yard Par 5.
His late heroics opened up a decent gap when the top of the leaderboard was coming together nicely ahead of the last round.
Scotland’s Ross Drummond sits three shots shy of Monasterio. Drummond, who has never won on the European Senior Tour, posted an impressive 65.
Former Ryder Cup player Barry Lane is only two adrift of Drummond on seven under after a 66. The biggest mover of the day had been former US Masters champion Ian Woosnam.
The little Welshman rolled back the years earlier in the day when he came close to equalling the Rockliffe Hall course record first. Woosnam, who had started the day two over, came within a shot of Tinning’s best by shooting 64 over his second 18 holes, which included three birdies in a row on the back nine.
He sits six adrift of Monasterio, who then bettered Woosnam’s efforts. Sitting alongside Woosnam on six-under is Spaniard Jose Manuel Carriles and Friday’s overnight leader Spence.
132 Cesar Monasterio
135 Ross Drummond
137 Barry Lane
138 Ian Woosnam, Jose Manuel Carriles, Jamie Spence
139 Santiago Luna
140 Steen Tinning, Andrew Oldcorn, Andrew Murray, John Gould, Mark James, Williams
144 John Harrison
145 Graeme Bell
147 Sam Torrance
148 Roger Roper