ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – After two days of heavy rain and strong wind, the Old Course was there for the taking Sunday.
Marc Leishman shot the first of what could be several 64s, but he also missed good looks on 16 and 17 and then hit a poor pitch on the final hole to squander his opportunity to shoot the first 62 in major-championship history.
Even more important: He set the new target, at 9-under 207, one shot behind overnight leader Dustin Johnson.
“It was disappointing not to go a couple better,” he said afterward, “but as far as this week goes, 64 gets me right back in it.”
On a calm, windless day at St. Andrews, Leishman might not be the last player to challenge the 18-hole major scoring record.
Not long after Leishman finished his round, Eddie Pepperell needed to play the last two holes in 2 under to have a chance, but he blocked his tee shot into the Old Course hotel, leading to a double bogey. Already there have been four rounds of 66 or better.
There have been 26 rounds of 63 in the majors, but the big Australian had a great opportunity to break through.
He went out in 32, then added four more birdies on Nos. 10. 11, 13 and 15. Eight under for the day, he stuffed his approach to 10 feet on 16. Miss. Then he hit his second shot to 15 feet on the difficult Road Hole, which had surrendered only seven birdies all week. Lip-out.
And when he got to the home hole, he busted a drive down the left side but hit his approach short. The ball rolled back into the Valley of Sin, and he did well to make par, rolling in a 7-footer to shoot 64.
There has been a pair of 63s shot during the Open at St. Andrews: Rory McIlroy in 2010 and Paul Broadhurst in 1990.