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Watson says the Open is a lottery
Darren Walton
16:46 AEST Sun Dec 9 2012

Golfing great Tom Watson says the Stonehaven Cup is anybody's as fierce winds threaten to turn the final round of the Australian Open into a lottery.

Taking advantage of easier early conditions, Watson signed off with a fine closing three-under-par 69 at The Lakes course in Sydney on Sunday.

The eight-times major winner finished his campaign at five-over after rounds of 78-68-78-69 and suspects a 72-hole total of about three or four under par will be enough to win the Open.

Third-round leader John Senden starts the final round at seven-under, currently two strokes clear of Englishman Justin Rose.

Rose said "that's amazing" when he heard of 63-year-old Watson's last-day score as grey clouds hovered and blustery winds prevailed on Sunday morning.

"A good score is even par," Watson said.

"It will be interesting to see what happens. It's a really strong wind. Yesterday it blew like hell."

Watson crashed out of contention with his 78 on Saturday, but said it was nice to finish off in respectable fashion.

"Today I was a little bit more rested and I played half decent golf today," the American said.

"Of course we got the benefit of playing early with no wind and the golf course was there for the taking and I pretty much took it.

"When that little front came through, it certainly changed.

"I kind of struggled on the way in with the hard winds, but it felt a little bit better today.

"My body was in a little bit better shape than yesterday, with no sleep."

Chasing a second Open victory, Senden said he was relishing the prospect of a final-round duel with Rose, the world No.4 and top-ranked player in the field.

Senden is the Open's third-round leader for the second year running after posting a workmanlike 70 at the windswept venue on Saturday.

"Look, Justin Rose has had a fantastic year this year and is a proven player," Senden said.

"He's a tough competitor so I feel like I'm going to enjoy that moment.

"That's why we're here. That's what we practise hard for. We want to be in this position to get the experience to know if you're going to be able to handle it."

Last year, Senden was unable to convert his third-round lead, narrowly missing a snaking, 35-foot birdie putt on the last to fall by a shot to Greg Chalmers.

Along with Rose, Senden - the 2006 champion - has a swag of other players on his tail.

Matt Jones and veteran Peter Senior are both at four-under and three shots back, with 2001 champion Stuart Appleby, Cameron Percy and American Kyle Stanley sharing sixth spot at three-under.

Halfway leader Marcus Fraser and pre-tournament favourite Adam Scott are five back at two-under.