A huge break for Jordan Spieth on the par-five 14th. His drive looks like it’s going to be swallowed by a big bunker down the left. If it goes in, he’ll have to chip out sideways. But it somehow stays up on the left, allowing him to smash his second into the heart of the green. He’ll have a look at eagle from 30 feet or so. Meanwhile birdie for Tommy Fleetwood on 11, and after a frustrating run of pars, it’s finally happening again for Southport’s finest! He’s -6.
The Open 2018: third round: birdies fly in on moving day – live! | Sport
by Brendon ·
Thorbjorn Olesen has been thoroughly refreshed by that eagle on 14. He fires an iron from 200 yards straight at the flag. It looks for all the world like it’s going to trundle slowly into the hole, but somehow lips out. He’ll knock what’s left in for birdie that takes him to -4. Suddenly, he’s back in contention! Up on 17, Alex Noren rolls in a birdie putt from off the green, and he’s -6. But it’s Erik van Rooyen’s first bogey in 20 holes, the punishment for failing to hit a ten-foot putt on 12 by one inch. Harsh. He’s -5.
Rickie Fowler’s day started to turn sour with that out-of-bounds triple-bogey on 6. Another dropped shot at 8. Another bogey at 12. But he’s rekindled his now-much-slimmer chances with eagle at 14. He’s -2. Eagle for his playing partner Thorbjorn Olesen, as well. He’d been heading in the wrong direction also, so that keeps his hopes alive: -3. Meanwhile Xander Schauffele passes up a golden chance for birdie at 11, but his partner Rory McIlroy makes no mistake from 12 feet. A third birdie of the day, and after a terribly sluggish start, the 2014 champion is beginning to regain some momentum.
-8: Kisner (9), Z Johnson (9)
-7: Spieth (13), Schauffele (11)
-6: Molinari (F), van Rooyen (11), McIlroy (11)
-5: Woods (F), Simpson (F), Noren (16), Chappell (13), Lombard (12), Perez (10), Fleetwood (10)
-4: Rose (F), Cook (F), Scott (17), Hoffman (16)
Kevin Kisner sends a delightful second into 9. He’s left with an eight footer for another birdie, but his putt lips out on the right. He turns in 34 and smacks the head of his putter in frustration. Don’t be too hard on yourself: you’re still co-leader of this famous old tournament. Par for Zach Johnson too. They’re -8. Adam Scott rattles a long birdie putt across 16 and into the cup. He’s -4.
Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele both set up good birdie chances on 10 with big drives and gentle wedges. Both give them up with distinctly average putts. They remain at -5 and -7 respectively. On 18, Webb Simpson nearly holes out from a greenside bunker, but the up and down saves his par, and he signs for a 67. He ends the day at -5, and his impressive 2018 continues apace.
Two poor shots by Jordan Spieth up 12, and he’s in a deep bunker well short of the green. He’s faced with a long sand shot … and caresses a stunning effort to five feet. He tidies up to remain at -7. That’s a superb save. His partner Kevin Chappell, having done much to negate that triple-birdie start with bogeys at 6 and 9, races in a long one to move back to -5. And Pat Perez nearly salvages a par on 9 with a 25-foot left-to-right slider, but it horseshoes out: he drops back to -5.
Matt Kuchar, vanquished last year at Birkdale by the absurd brilliance of Jordan Spieth, will be dreaming of another tilt at the title. It wasn’t looking great for a while: bogeys at 4, 5 and 8 sent him clattering down the leaderboard, but a birdie at 10 brings him back to -3. And yes, of course he’s been smiling all the way through, whatever. Another birdie for his partner Erik van Rooyen, too, his second of the day. He’s -6.
A smidgen of disappointment at the end of Francesco Molinari’s round. He whip-cracks his second at 18 straight at the flag, the ball stopping six feet short. But he tugs the birdie putt. Still, he’s tapping in for a sensational 65: out in 33, back in 32. He’s -6, and the runner-up in last year’s PGA will be hoping to go one better in this particular major tomorrow. He’s in a seriously rich vein of form, and he’s got a chance!
Zach Johnson rattles in another biggie with the flat stick. Just 30 feet or so this time, but the birdie at 7 brings him level with Kevin Kisner, who pars, at the top: -8. Back-to-back birdies for Alex Noren at 13 and 14. He’s -5. And a birdie for Jordan Spieth at 11, the reward for knocking his second to six feet: he’s a shot off Johnson and Kisner at -7.
Tiger talks to Sky! “It seemed like everybody was shooting six, seven under par. I figured I needed to do the same. There were quite a few guys five or six under par after 12 holes. The pins were definitely gettable, they were quite friendly to us, so I had to attack. The up and down at 18 kept me in the fight. Some guys will get to -10 today, and five shots are achievable. I didn’t want to drop that last shot. Today’s was one of the better rounds I’ve played, I had control of my ball, which is not easy to do on a links course.”
You may have noticed Pat Perez creeping further up the standings. That’s because he’s just drained a 50-footer across 7 for his third birdie in four holes! Brilliant from the late-bloomer from Phoenix, Arizona. The 42-year-old won the CIMB Classic this year, only his third Tour title in a long career, but his second in the last two years. Don’t rule him out, because he’s playing as though he doesn’t give a solitary flying one. Just for the love of the game. He’s freewheeling around Carnousite and it’s great to watch!
MONSTER PUTT ALERT! Scrub that leader board! Stop the clocks! Nothing’s happened for Zach Johnson today yet. Apart from that bogey on 4. And he’s only on the front of the huge green at the par-five 6th. The best part of 100 feet from the hole, uphill, over a couple of mounds, with a right-to-left swing thrown in. And in it rattles! The crowd go wild! The 2015 champ doesn’t know what to do, so just pulls his hat over his eyes and smiles in disbelief. Did that really happen?! He’s the new co-leader … for about a minute, because his partner Kisner takes a more realistic two putts from distance for his birdie, and he’s now top on his own.
-8: Kisner (6)
-7: Schauffele (7), Z Johnson (6)
-6: Molinari (17), Spieth (10), Perez (7)
-5: Woods (F), Simpson (16), Lombard (9), van Rooyen (8), McIlroy (8), Fleetwood (7)
Xander Schauffele’s win at the Tour Championship last year announced the 24-year-old Californian’s talent. And his big-event mindset. He’s already finished in a tie for fifth and a tie for sixth at consecutive US Opens. Now he’s making his mark on the British version too. He’s now joint leader of the Open after following Rory in for birdie at 7. This is shaping up to be an Open for the ages. Old favourites and young gunslingers alike are involved in one hell of a scrum. And we’re only halfway through the third round!
-7: Schauffele (7), Kisner (5)
-6: Molinari (16), Spieth (9)
-5: Woods (F), Simpson (16), Lombard (9), van Rooyen (8), McIroy (7), Perez (6), Fleetwood (6), Z Johnson (5)
Tiger sends a glorious wedge to five feet at 18. A great chance to scramble his par. And in it goes! A 66 for the living legend, and a huge smile spreads across his face! A spring in his step, too. He’s -5, and will be heavily involved during the final day in a major for the first time in a good while. It’s so good he’s back, huh? Meanwhile it’s back-to-back birdies for Rory, who curls in a left-to-right 15-footer on 7. He’s -5. But a dropped shot for Tommy Fleetwood on 6, his first bogey in 25 holes.
A second birdie in three holes at 16, and the in-form Francesco Molinari closes in on the leader! He’s -6. Patrick Cantlay’s eagle attempt from 15 feet on 14 shaves the hole. Birdie, and he’s nicely placed at -4. And Webb Simpson follows birdie at 14 by seriously bothering the flagstick at 15. He tidies up, picking up another shot. The 2012 US Open winner and current Players champion is -5, right in the mix! New leaderboard in a minute or two.
A huge break for Tiger on 18. He pulls his iron from the tee way left, and it only carries the Barry Burn by a matter of inches. On another day it might have toppled back into the drink, too, but it snags in some rough. He’s forced to lay up with his second, but that could have been a whole lot worse. Up on the green, Lefty follows a bogey at 17 with a par, and he’s signing for a 70. He’s -1 for the championship. Meanwhile finally some positive news for Rory, who finds a pot bunker to the side of the par-five 6th with his second shot, leaves his escape 12 feet short, but makes the birdie putt anyway. He’s back at -4. Birdie for his partner Xander Schauffele too, and the young Californian moves to -6.
Bogey for Zach Johnson at 4; he drops two behind his playing partner Kevin Kisner. Another birdie for Pat Perez, this time at 5: he’s just one back at -6. And another birdie chance for Tiger at 17, but his uphill right-to-left curler from 15 feet is always staying on the high side. The 14-time major winner remains at -5 on a very congested leaderboard. I wonder how the wind will scatter them all tomorrow?
It’s lucky we made a big song and dance about Tiger reaching the toppermost of the poppermost when he did. Because not only has Kisner reclaimed the lead for himself, but Tiger’s also dropped his first stroke of the day. All of a sudden he’s two off the top. There’s an element of bad luck: a fine tee shot at the long par-three 16th only just toppled off the right of the green. But his putt back up was severely underhit, and he pushed his short par saver. Meanwhile birdies for Xander Schauffele on 5, and Charley Hoffman at 11.
-7: Kisner (3)
-6: Spieth (7), Fleetwood (4), Z Johnson (3)
-5: Woods (16), Molinari (14), Hoffman (11), Chappell (7), Lombard (6), van Rooyen (5), Schauffele (5), Perez (4)
Kevin Kisner taps in his birdie putt, and claims sole ownership of the Open for the first time since his double bogey at 18 yesterday. Alex Noren had bogeyed 9, but reclaims his shot immediately at 10, the result of stopping his second 18 inches from the flag. He’s -4 again. Birdie for Pat Perez at 4: he’s -5. And birdie for Francesco Molinari at 14: he’s -5. Meanwhile here’s hot water crust pastry’s Simon McMahon (last heard ordering lunch at 12.18pm): “I can confirm that there has been some absolutely sensational golf today from my vantage point between the 3rd and 15th greens, where Tiger has just missed a 15 footer for birdie to take the tournament lead. I can also confirm that Mrs McMahon turned down the offer of a gourmet pie for lunch in favour of fish and chips. Some people just have no taste, eh?”
Phil Mickelson’s not out of this yet, you know. He turned in 37, one over, but he’s just registered three birdies on the bounce, the latest a monster rake across 16! That puts the 2013 champion up to -2, and there’s a huge grin on the 48-year-old superstar’s boat! The sorry nonsense at Shinnecock suddenly seems a lifetime ago! Meanwhile a sensational approach into 3 by Kevin Kisner, who utilises the shoulder of a bunker on the right to guide his ball back to the flag. It’s going to be a kick-in birdie that’ll move him to -7.
Tiger’s birdie putt up 15 sails off to the right. He taps in for his par. No sole ownership of the lead for Woods. Yet. But that wasn’t too far away. The first stumble of the day by Kevin Chappell, who makes bogey at the par-five 6th after an errant drive. He’s -5 again. And Rory pushes a short par putt wide of the cup on 4, and he’s heading the wrong way at -3.
Here’s someone else going very well: the 2012 nearly man Adam Scott. He’s birdied 2, 6 and now 10 to move to -4; the former Masters champion seems to be getting on with his putter for once. It’d be lovely to see the cheerful Aussie lift the Claret Jug, given the way his dreams crumbled over the last four holes at Lytham. There wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house.
Disaster for Rickie Fowler on the par-five 6th. He hoicks his tee shot out of bounds, and the result is a triple-bogey eight. He clatters down the leaderboard to -2, a painful fall given that pretty much everyone else is climbing the other way at pace. For example: Tiger, who creams his second at 15 straight at the stick. He’s left with an uphill 15-footer for another birdie. “I hesitate to say it, but I’m going to say it anyway,” says his former coach Butch Harmon on Sky. “Tiger Woods is back!”
Rory McIlroy can’t make his birdie putt on 3. He remains at -4. Bogey for Pat Perez at 2; he’s -4. And another birdie for Zander Lombard, at 5: he’s one off the lead at -5. The wind is picking up a little bit, so let’s see if the players can maintain this birdie-fest.
TIGER WOODS IS CO-LEADER OF THE OPEN! It’s been a long time, old friend. But here we are again! The 2000, 2005 and 2006 winner finds the par-five 14th in two, nearly drains a 30-foot eagle effort, then tidies up for the birdie that means this …
-6: Woods (14), Spieth (5), Chappell (5), Fleetwood (2), Kisner (1), Z Johnson (1)
-5: Fowler (5), Lombard (5), van Rooyen (4)
Alex Noren is going along very nicely. Birdies at 1, 6 and now 8, and he joins the group at -4. Rory takes driver at 3, but sends it out to the left and nearly clatters Matt Kuchar, making his way down 5. Kuchar, ever cheery, waves back and smiles. Rory then bumps his second from the 5th to 12 feet back on the 3rd. He’ll have a look at birdie. It’s pars for the overnight leaders Kisner and Johnson on the opening hole. And on 2, Tommy Fleetwood’s approach is distinctly average, but he then rakes in a monster to join the leading group! New leaderboard in a minute, because …
Rory dumps his second at 2 into a greenside bunker. He’s plugged, up against a low face. He splashes out delicately … too delicately. Only onto the fringe. But he makes the par saver. That could be a momentum changer, after a slightly stodgy start. His partner Xander Schauffele bogeys, after getting a flyer out of rough and missing the green. He slips to -4 alongside McIlroy. Spieth misses a grand birdie chance at 5, pushing one right from six feet. Zander Lombard bounces back from bogey at 2 with birdie at 4. He’s -4. And birdie for Erik van Rooyen at 3: he’s -5.
The final group is out! Kevin Kisner knocks one down the middle, while Zach Johnson finds a bunker down the right. Whether or not their efforts from here on in are futile is moot: no Open winner at Carnoustie has led the tournament after two rounds. Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Paul Lawrie and Padraig Harrington have all come from behind after 36 holes.
Kevin Chappell’s run of birdies comes to an end. But only just. He’d sent his second at 4 to 12 feet, and his putt only just slid past the left side of the cup. He remains at -6. Also missing on the left: Tiger Woods, whose slider across the par-three 13th from 30 feet is one dimple away from dropping. He stays at -5. As do Pat Perez and Tommy Fleetwood, who par the opening hole.
The birdies continue to fly all around Carnoustie. Last year’s runner-up Matt Kuchar on 2: he’s -5. Last year’s third-place finisher Haotong Li at 5, 9, 11 and 14: he’s -3. And there’ll be one coming for Jordan Spieth on 4, as he screeches a wedge to 18 inches. He’ll join the leaders at -6.
It’s three birdies in a row for Charley Hoffman, the latest at 6. He’s -4. Francesco Molinari birdies 10 to move to -4 as well. Rickie Fowler makes his second birdie of the day, following the one he fashioned at 2 with another on 4. He’s -5, one off the lead. And on 1, Rory McIlroy crashes a drive down the middle and nearly follows Jordan Spieth onto the green. Not quite, and then a heavy chip costs him a birdie. Just the par, which will feel like a shot given up to the field.
It’s three birdies in the first three holes for Kevin Chappell! And finally the overnight leaders have been caught. It was only a matter of time. His second at 3 landed 15 feet to the left of the flag, and the putt was dead straight. What a start by the 32-year-old Californian, who has done nothing at the Open before, but tied for third at Congressional in the 2011 US Open won at a canter by Rory McIlroy. He’s got a top-ten finish at the Masters to his name as well, so a good showing in the oldest championship shouldn’t be too much of a shock. His partner Spieth leaves his birdie effort on 3 short. He was dead on line, too. That happened on 2 as well. But for a few joules of energy, split over two putts, he’d be leading on his own. The small margins.
-6: Chappell (3), Z Johnson, Kisner
-5: Woods (11), Cantlay (8), Spieth (3), Fleetwood, Perez, Schauffele
It’s three birdies in a row for Tiger Woods! Another approach right at the flag, at 11, and a five-foot putt. He’s -5, and my goodness didn’t the Open miss him when he was away. He missed the Open too, of course. It’s back-to-back birdies for Kevin Chappell, at 2, and he’s just one shot off the lead as well. The birdies are flying in all over the shop. And here’s a report on the player who started today’s low-scoring trend, from our man on the course Mark Tallentire:
Patrick Cantlay has long been touted as a potential major winner. But his career took a tragic downturn in 2016 when his friend and caddy Chris Roth was hit by a car and killed; Cantlay witnessed the sickening event. After a long period dealing with the shock and grief, he returned to the game and won his first PGA event this season at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The 26-year-old Californian is finally putting something together in a major: birdies at 2, 3, 4 and now 7, and he’s just a shot off the lead at -5.
Up on 18, Byeong Hun An pars to complete a marvellous 66. The 26-year-old South Korean hasn’t done much at the Open before: three missed cuts in five appearances, and nothing much to speak of when he did make it. But this is a most welcome raising of the game by the 2015 BMW PGA champion. Out in 33, he then birdied 10 and 11 before parring his way home. Nothing to be sniffed at there, especially when you consider the nature of Carnoustie’s closing stretch. He’s in the spike bar at -3, alongside Yusaku Miyazato and Chris Wood, and a shot behind clubhouse leader Justin Rose.
Birdie for Spieth’s partner Kevin Chappell, too. But mentioning it back there seemed wrong somehow after the champion’s eagle. Meanwhile back-to-back birdies for the current Players champion Webb Simpson at 6 and 7: he’s -3. Birdie for Rickie Fowler on 2, and he’s -4. And on 10, Tiger sends his wedge to kick-in distance! The ball lands inches from the cup, spins and sticks. If Carnoustie had a roof, it would be landing somewhere near Wick right now. The great man’s -4. He cracks a smile, betraying his usually steely gameface. He’s feeling the old magic right now!
Spieth sizes up his eagle putt. There’s plenty of left to right break in it, even though there’s only ten feet or so to travel. He strokes it carefully. It looks like it’s going to die off to the right, but the edge of the cup grabs it. The ball performs a 360-degree wall of death spin before finally disappearing into the cup. No more than that sensational drive deserved! His first eagle of the week, and he’s taken no time whatsoever to send shockwaves up and down the leaderboard!
-6: Z Johnson, Kisner
-5: Spieth (1), Fleetwood, Perez, Schauffele
-4: Rose (F), Crocker (11), Cantlay (6), Chappell (1), McIlroy, van Rooyen, Kuchar, Finau, Lombard
What an opening statement by Jordan Spieth! The defending champion tees it up high on the first tee, and creams a monster drive down the middle. The fairways are hardening again under the Scottish sun, and his ball bounds down the track and makes its way onto the front of the green. He’ll have a look at an opening eagle from ten feet or so! That is a sensational start from a player who never ceases to amaze. The referee going around with his match today is the same guy who ruled on the 13th during his final-round shenanigans at Birkdale last year. A good omen?
Tiger reaches the turn in 33! He birdies 9, sending a tramliner up the green and into the cup. He was celebrating before it dropped. A punch of the air, and could this week be the end of his decade-long search for number 15? A long time to go, but he’s -3 now, just three off the lead. Back-to-back birdies for Francesco Molinari meanwhile, at 6 and 7. Throw in his opening-hole birdie, and he’s -3 too. Neither Fowler nor Olesen can make their birdie chances on 1.
Par for Danny Willett at 1. Coming behind, Rickie Fowler, who splits the fairway and eases his second to eight feet. His partner Thorbjorn Olesen follows Fowler shot for stylish shot. Eagle for Satoshi Kodaira on 14, more than making up for his bogey at 12. He’s four under for his round again, and -3 overall. And it’s three birdies in five holes for the 21-year-old Zimbabwean debutant Sean Crocker, the latest the result of driving the green at 11.
Thanks to Gregg. Back just in time to see Tiger’s tee shot at the par-three 8th topple back off the front of the green. He very nearly drains his Texas Wedge, but the ball stops one turn short. He stays at -2. His partner Shaun Norris makes birdie, though, the reward for a tee shot clapped to 12 feet. The 36-year-old South African is playing in only his second Open; he debuted last year at Birkdale, shooting 65 in round three and ending up tied for 62nd. Another stunning Saturday on the cards? He’s -3 for his round and for the tournament.
The 2016 Masters champions, Danny Willett, has rediscovered a bit of form at this year’s Open. He gets his third round under way with a solid wallop to the centre of the 1st fairway and sets off after it like a man in a hurry to catch a bus. Oh, and who’s this I spot in the distance? It’s Dr Golf, refreshed and ready to guide you through to closing time at Carnoustie. Enjoy the golf one and all. Bye.