The PGA Tour rookie has made quite an impression in his first major, shooting a 1-under-par 70 Saturday that left him two strokes behind leader Thomas Bjorn after the third round.
Now, he'll compete against the likes of Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Vijay Singh, Kenny Perry and Sergio Garcia, all within two strokes of Bjorn.
Is the 26-year-old Curtis surprised by his performance?
'Yes and no,' he said. 'I have been playing a lot better the last three weeks and this kind of golf suits me the best. It's not going to take 10, 15 or 20 under par to win. If you stay around par, you're going to be right in the hunt.'
Curtis has done just that, shooting 72 the first two days. He's 1 over after 54 holes at Royal St. George's. While most of the attention is sure to be focused elsewhere in the final round, Curtis won't rule out making a run at the claret jug.
'Even if you are like two or three back going into the back nine, you never know what can happen,' he said. 'If I shoot like I did today, like 4 under, you never know. You get a couple of putts to go in and anything can happen.'
Curtis, who played the last two years on the Hooters Tour, qualified for the PGA Tour this year. He earned a spot in the British Open by tying for 13th at the Western Open two weeks ago -- the best showing of his young career.
He might do even better this week.
'There are a lot of heavy guys out there and I'll just do the best I can,' he said. 'It's a dream come true so far.'
Tom Watson won five British Opens, so he had a lot of experience hoisting the claret jug.
It turns out he has some experience repairing it, too.
Watson said he had the trophy in his office after one win and was practicing his golf swing when he accidentally struck the cup.
The 131-year-old trophy, inscribed with the names of all Open winners, hit the floor and its lip was bent by the impact.
'It looked like the Concorde,' Watson said. 'I didn't know what to do.'
Watson took the trophy to his shop, put some velvet around it and gently lifted the lip back into place with some vice grips.
Did anyone ever notice?
'Nobody ever knew it -- until now,' Watson said.
Vijay Singh shot a 33 on the front nine to move into contention, then ran into a stretch that almost ruined his chances of winning the British Open.
Singh bogeyed four straight holes beginning with the 10th to go from even par to 4-over.
'I wasn't in too much trouble either,' Singh said. 'Just missing the greens, missing short putts, three-putting. But everyone seems to have the same problems. You have to be patient.'
Singh followed his own advice. He came back to birdie three of his last four holes for a 69 that put him at 214, just two shots off the lead.
'I'm playing really well. I've played well all three days so far,' Singh said. 'Haven't scored the way I want to but hopefully tomorrow it's going to come around.'
MY EARS MUST BE RINGING
Someone forgot to turn off their cell phone, which may have cost Brian Davis a stroke at No. 16.
The English golfer missed a putt to save par after someone's phone began ringing.
'Maybe it was a little bit a lack of experience,' the 28-year-old Davis said. 'It wasn't necessarily the mobile phone, but all the people trying to shut the fellow up who had the phone. I should have backed off and I didn't. I regret it now.'
Davis made a par at No. 17, then took another bogey at the final hole. Still, he had one of the best rounds of the day, 68, and was just six strokes behind leader Thomas Bjorn going to the final round.
On Friday, Davis needed to sink a 12-foot putt on 18 just to make the cut. He took advantage of the second chance with birdies on five of the first 10 holes Saturday.
Now, about those phones.
Davis said the Royal & Ancient should probably follow the U.S. Open, which doesn't allow fans to carry phones within the grounds. At the British Open, fans can bring their phones to the course but are instructed to turn them off.
'All we could hear all day was messages,' Davis said. 'You know when you get a message on your phone? Well, that is what we heard all day. At the U.S. Open, we didn't hear one phone. That was great. I wouldn't mind that. I'm sure it won't kill people not to have their phones for a couple of hours.'
Right then, a cell phone rang. Davis laughed, but said it's a serious issue.
'A mobile phone ringing could cause someone to lose the Open,' he said. 'It does annoy you on the course, especially when you are trying hard to concentrate.'
Because of the odd number of players, Peter Fowler played in the first group with a marker. The honor went to Michael Brooks, the assistant pro at Royal St. George's and son of head pro Andrew Brooks. The younger Brooks played in the 1997 Walker Cup. ... Good news for Thomas Bjorn: Sixteen of the last 33 leaders after 54 holes have gone on to win the Open, including Tiger Woods, David Duval and Ernie Els over the last three years. ... Bjorn has made only one bogey in his last 30 holes.
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