Open Championship tracker: Day 4 at St. Andrews

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2015, 9:50 am

The 144th Open Championship takes place this week at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. is tracking the men's third major of the season through on-site reporting and social media. For additional Open coverage, click here for full-field scores and click here for our Tiger Tracker. If you want to view the action we tracked from the first three days, you can find Thursday's action here, Friday's action here and Saturday content here. All-times for the Open Championship tracker are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

2:15PM: That'll close the book on Day 4 at St. Andrews. One final look at the leaderboard heading into the Monday finish:

2:10PM: Dustin Johnson, post-round:

• "The course played easy. I had plenty of chances. I just couldn't get it in the hole."

• "I'm going to have to shoot pretty low tomorrow - 8, 9, 10 under - to have any shot."

2:04PM: DJ's 3-over 75 was the worst score of the day by any player in the top 70. It was the second-worst score of anyone still in the field. Ryan Fox shot shot a 4-over 76.

2:02PM: An illuminating note - Dustin Johnson's score to par in Rounds 1 and 2 of his last five major championships: 31 under. Dustin Johnson's score to par in Rounds 3 and 4 of his last five major championships: 3 over.

2:00PM: Dustin Johnson's Round 3 finish: bogey-bogey-bogey. That's a 3-over 75 for DJ, who started the day one shot ahead and ended it five shots back.

1:57PM: Who let him out of his box?

1:48PM: Make that back-to-back bogeys for Dustin Johnson, who found the Road Hole bunker and burned the edge with his par putt. Now 2 over today and 8 under for the championship. Four shots back of the lead. With his power and talent, on this golf course - just stunning.

1:44PM: Lost in the shuffle around Dunne and Day is Dunne's playing partner:

1:41PM: Dunne, on what he'll be thinking on the first tee tomorrow: "Make contact with the ball."

1:40PM: Paul Dunne on his walk up 18 Sunday: "This is as about as much fun as any golfer can have."

1:36PM: Dustin Johnson follows up his first birdie with his second bogey. Back to 1 over today and 9 under total. Major weekend struggles continue.

1:33PM: Jason Day walks off the 18th green and we now have a three-way 12 under: Day, Dunne, Oosthuizen.

1:25PM: A little relevant history here related to amateur Paul Dunne and what he could do Monday. The last amateur to win a ...

• European Tour event: Shane Lowry, 2009 Irish Open

• PGA Tour event: Phil Mickelson, 1991 Northern Telecom Open

• A major: Johnny Goodman, 1933 U.S. Open

• An Open Championship: Bobby Jones, 1930

Couple more notes:

1:22PM: It took him 15 holes, but Dustin Johnson finally made his first birdie of the day, jarring an uphill putt from off the green. At 10 under, shockingly, after being the last player in the field to make a birdie today, he's just two back.

1:20PM: Paul Dunne enters the clubhouse tied for the lead at 12 under thanks to a Sunday 66. His 54-hole total of 204 is the lowest ever by an amateur in an Open at St. Andrews.

1:12PM: Per Mike Tirico on the telecast, Paul Dunne's lowest round for UAB this year in competition was a 67. In the fairway at 18, he needs a par for a 66 in the third round of the Open Championship at St. Andrews.

1:07PM: And that, odd as it is to say on this kind of day at St. Andrews, is a great bogey save at the par-5 14th for Danny Willett, who went O.B. off the tee. That said, he's back to 10 under after back-to-back bogeys. Willett and Dustin Johnson, the final twosome, are a combined even par today.

1:05PM: How nice to be unafraid:

12:55PM: Run and hide, folks. Run and hide.

12:53PM: Fighter of the Nightman. Jason Day now tied for the lead at 12 under thanks to a birdie at 16. Walking to the Road Hole. Spieth the lowest in the clubhouse right now at minus-11.

12:52PM: The wheels may be coming off for Danny Willett, who made bogey at 13 and just blew one out of bounds off the tee at 14.

12:50PM: Per the telecast, Paul Dunne nearly missed his tee time for his qualifying round to get into the Open. Probably off being awesome somewhere beforehand.

12:46PM: Dr. Tom Morris is neither young nor old. More of a middle-aged medical professional.

12:41PM: Paul Dunne once again tied for the lead, this time with Willett and this time at 12 under, thanks to an uphill birdie make at the 15th.

12:35PM: Jordan "N.B.D." Spieth - "You know right now I feel even more calm than the [U.S.] Open. ... I'm going to sleep fine tonight."

12:33PM: Of the men on this list, only Hogan went on to win. Palmer and Nicklaus finished runner-up.

12:30PM: Dunne ended up finding that ball and actually had a good look at birdie after two hacks from the messy stuff on the left. Putt misses left. Momentum slowing a bit with four straight pars, which today at St. Andrews means you're losing ground. Still just one back, though.

12:24PM: And next to Spieth, Sergio Garcia misses an attempt for birdie at 18 by the slimmest of margins and taps in for a 4-under 68. Now 9 under through 54.

12:22PM: That's a Sunday 66 for Jordan Spieth, who couldn't keep his ball on the green with his second from roughly 50 yards but two-putted for par. He's in at 11 under.

12:20PM: Your new leader at 12 under, Danny Willett just flagged one at the par-3 11th and is now looking at an opportunity to get to minus-13.

12:18PM: Reload? Paul Dunne marking another golf ball and preparing to put it in play off 14 tee after his first ball sailed left.

12:16PM: Would have preferred some Montel Jordan:

12:10PM: Jordan Spieth, Road Warrior. Misses fairway left at 17, plays to the front of the green, and two-putts from the other side of the British Empire. Holding at 11 heading into 18.

12:08PM: Folks at Chambers Bay considering plan to build one on every hole, just to have 'em:

12:05PM: Padraig Harrington, three-time major champion and author of the "Little Book of Irish Wit and Wisdom."

12:03PM: Dunne's putt comes up short in a bid to move to 12 under. Part of him has to be thinking: "I can turn pro overnight, right? Yeah, $1.8 million? Overnight, right?"

12:00PM: Dunne getting all the attention - rightly so since he's, you know, co-leading the Open - but fellow amateur Jordan Niebrugge just got into the house at 9 under thanks to a third-round 67. Two shots back of Dunne and Spieth.

11:57AM: FYI ...

11:54AM: If you're not familiar with Dunne (a), here's his bio courtesy

11:52AM: Jason Day is one back. He birdies the 11th and gets to 10 under.

11:50AM: Dunne (a) leaves an 8-foot birdie putt on the right lip. He taps in for par at 12 and remains at 11 under.

11:48AM: Dustin Johnson ends his par streak, but it's with a bogey at No. 7. He's back to 9 under, now two off the lead.

11:44AM: Harrington misses a birdie putt at 18 and taps in for par and a 65. He's in the house at 10 under.

11:42AM: Spieth makes his seventh birdie of the round at 15 and he's tied with Dunne (a) for the lead.

11:30AM: Paul Dunne leads the Open. The amateur birdies the 10th, his fifth birdie of the day, to reach 11 under par.

11:26AM: Dustin Johnson and Paul Lawrie are the only players currently inside the top 20 who are not under par today.

11:16AM: Six-way tie for the lead. Dunne (a), Willett and Harrington all make birdie within minutes of each other to reach 10 under.

11:16AM: Six-way tie for the lead. Dunne (a), Willett and Harrington all make birdie within minutes of each other to reach 10 under.

11:13AM: Regarding the pair of amateurs currently one off the lead:

11:10AM: Four consecutive birdies for Charl Schwartzel. He's tied for the lead at 10 under. Everyone is making birdies ... except the final group of Johnson and Willett.

11:05AM: Make it 10 players at 9 under as Jordan Niebrugge (a) joins the group.

11:02AM: Fast and furious scoring as Louis Oosthuizen birdies No. 7 to get to 10 under, tied for the lead with Spieth and Johnson.

11:01AM: In non-Spieth news, Paul Dunne (a) rolls in one from off the green at No. 7. He's one of nine players at 9 under.

10:58AM: Make it three straight for Spieth. He rolls in another at the 12th to get to 10 under par and tie for the lead.

10:51AM: Following bogey - and the official talking-to - Spieth birdies 10 and 11. He's just one back at 9 under. Johnson, meanwhile, has parred his first four holes.

10:48AM: Garcia and Spieth have been asked twice to speed it up. Next occasion they will receive an official "warning." If that doesn't scare you ...

10:43AM: Sergio Garcia gets to 8 under. Amateur Jordan Niebrugge gets to 8 under. Fifteen players are 8 under or lower.

10:38AM: Retief Goosen eagles the fifth and birdies the sixth. He's among those one back, at 9 under.

10:33AM: Spieth makes a terrible bogey at the par-4 ninth and drops to 7 under. Spieth missed the green from 85 yards with his approach shot and then missed a 3-footer for par.

10:26AM: Two-time Open champion Padraig Harrington makes his sixth birdie in 12 holes to get to 9 under, one off the lead. Paul Lawrie, the 1999 champion, is also one back after a birdie at No. 3.

10:24AM: Another missed birdie putt inside of 15 feet for Dustin Johnson. He remains at 10 under.

10:22AM: Meanwhile, Eddie Pepperell parred his final hole, following the dreadful double bogey at 17, to finish at 8 under. Here's a snapshot of the leaderboard:

10:16AM: Amateur Paul Dunne birdies the fourth hole and gets to 8 under. Fellow amateur Ashley Chesters is in the house at 6 under after a 67.

10:13AM: DJ leaves a 10-footer for birdie on the first hole short. He remains at 10 under. There are currently 21 players within three shots of his lead.

10:08AM: Here comes Jordan! Spieth has three birdies in seven holes and is at 8 under, two off the lead.

10:01AM: Dustin Johnson and Danny Willett are off and running on the Old Course. Fifty-eight of the 80 players who made the cut are currently under par in the third round.

9:49AM: Blast from the past. In case you missed it, '01 Open champ David Duval got in the mix on Moving Day.

9:40AM: Spieth and Garcia with another couple of birdies at 5. Leaders teeing off shortly. Will the trend continue all the way up the leaderboard?

9:35AM: First time for everything?

9:19AM: Eddie Pepperell grabs a share of the lead and promptly blasts one OB into the hotel.

9:09AM: The problem for everyone is that Dustin Johnson has yet to tee off on this beautiful Moving Day. And DJ has history on his side.

9:06AM: Fowler coming in hot!

9:00AM: Spieth and Garcia all square through two.

8:44AM: Leishman in the clubhouse with a 64. Not history, but still the round of the tournament.

8:41AM: And ... mark down a couple of circles on No. 1 for Jordan Spieth and playing partner Sergio Garcia

8:38AM: Speaking of eagles, this happened just a short time ago:

8:31AM: As one man chasing history (Jordan Spieth) tees off, another (Marc Leishman) makes par on 17, still has a slim chance at the lowest score in a major championship.

8:25AM: Another birdie for Rickie Fowler. Now T-6 at 7 under, 6 under on the day.

8:18AM: History still in play for Leishman.

8:08AM: Marc-y Marc and The Funky Bunch ... of birdies.

7:55AM: Nothing overrated about this storyline:

7:53AM: If you need some light, Sunday morning reading, here's the latest on Tiger Woods from Ryan Lavner.

7:48AM: That's seven birdies through 13 holes for Marc Leishman. He's 8 under, two off the lead.

7:40AM: These guys are good. Much different story on Sunday.

7:37AM: Pin positions are the only defense on Sunday at St. Andrews. Benign conditions (even the rain at the moment). Here's a look at Sunday's pin positions:

7:35AM: Waterproofs on and umbrellas up! It's beginning to rain at the Open.

7:29AM: Rickie Fowler is trying to do his best Phil Mickelson impression. He's 4 under through 11 holes in Round 3 and is moving into contention, trying to win the Scottish Open and the Open in back-to-back weeks like Mickelson did in 2013.

7:24AM: Good on you, St. Andrews. You owed us this.

7:21AM: Better late than never we suppose.

7:13AM: Call it whatever you want, David. We'll call that some darn good golf.

7:04AM: We're thinking Doug is speaking metaphorically. Marc Leishman currently in a tie for 10th place.

7:00AM: The race for the Silver Medal is on!

6:53AM: That's a 5-under 67 for David Duval in the third round of the 144th Open Championship. That's his lowest round at the Open since winning the claret jug in 2001.

6:50AM: With the good ... comes the bad. G-Mac records his second double bogey of the day.

6:45AM: It's a beautiful day in Scotland.

6:30AM: Phil Mickelson just teed off ... and hit his ball into the burn short of the first green. Has anyone ever done that before?

6:29AM: We knew it was too good to be true. Duval drops a shot after bogey at 16 and is now 5 under, in a tie for 14th.

6:5AM: Another player making big moves Sunday morning is Graeme McDowell. Through 13 holes, he's made eight birdies. EIGHT BIRDIES.

6:22AM: It's been awhile:

6:16AM: Here's a look at Duval's scorecard so far on Sunday:

6:06AM: And oh by the way ... David Duval has 7 birdies across his first 14 holes on Sunday and is now in the top 10.

6:04AM: For those of you at home wondering ... here are the duds Sergio Garcia will be wearing for the Monday finish to the Open.

6:01AM: Oh what a difference a day makes.

5:50AM: Happy Sunday! Round 3 (yes, you read that correctly) of the 144th Open Championship is underway from St. Andrews.

Getty Images

Own history, grow the game with Open memorabilia auction

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 1:00 pm

Get a piece of history and help grow the game, that's what The Open is offering with its memorabilia auction.

The official Open Memorabilia site features unique Open assets from famous venues and Champion Golfers of the Year. All net proceeds received by The R&A from this project will be invested to support the game for future generations, including encouraging women’s, junior and family golf, on the promotion and progression of the sport in emerging golf nations and on coaching and development.

Items for auction include limited edition prints of Champion Golfers of the Year, signed championship pin flags and limited edition historical program covers. Memorable scorecard reproductions and caddie bibs are also available to bid for on the website, with all items featuring branded, serialized holograms for authenticity.

Click here to own your piece of history and to get more information on the auction.

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No indication when Trump Turnberry will next host an Open

By Jay CoffinJuly 18, 2018, 12:25 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Turnberry last hosted The Open in 2009, during that magical week where Tom Watson, at age 59, nearly won his sixth claret jug. Ultimately, Stewart Cink won in a playoff.

While Turnberry remains on The Open rota, according to the R&A, there is no clear understanding of when the club, purchased by Donald Trump in 2014 before he became President of the United States, will next host the championship. The next open date is 2022.

“With respect to 2022, I’ve already said, ’21 we’re going to be celebrating the 150th playing of The Open at St. Andrews,” R&A chief executive Marin Slumbers said Wednesday on the annual news conference on the eve of The Open. “And in ’22, we’ll be going south of the border.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

South of the border means the 2022 Open will be at one of the three venues in England. Since the 2020 Open is at Royal St. George’s, that leaves Royal Lytham & St. Annes and Royal Liverpool as the two remaining options. Since Lytham (2012, Ernie Els) last hosted The Open before Liverpool (2014, Rory McIlroy), that’s the likely choice.

Trump was at Turnberry for two days last weekend, 150 miles southwest of Carnoustie. The R&A said it did not receive any communication from the U.S. president while he was in the country.

Turnberry hosted the Women’s British Open in 2015. Inbee Park beat Jin-young Park by three shots.

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Slumbers explains driver test; Rory weighs in

By Rex HoggardJuly 18, 2018, 12:18 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Players and manufacturers were informed about three weeks ago that the R&A intended to test individual drivers at this week’s Open Championship, marking the first time the rule makers have taken the current standards to players.

Although the R&A and USGA have been COR (coefficient of restitution) tests on drivers for some time, they have been pulling the tested clubs from manufacturers, not players.

“We take our governance role very seriously, not just on the Rules of Golf and amateur status, but also equipment standards, and we felt it was an appropriate next step to more actively seek to test players' drivers straight out of the bag,” said Martin Slumbers, the R&A’s chief executive.

Thirty players were notified their drivers would be tested this week - including Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day and Henrik Stenson - from a list that roughly mirrored the breakdown of various brands based on current equipment counts.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

The R&A test center was set up on the Carnoustie practice range, and according to Slumbers there were no violations of the testing limits, which essentially measure the spring-like effect of the driver clubface.

Although none of the drivers failed the testing, Rory McIlroy did say that TaylorMade was “singled out a bit more than anyone else.”

“A manufacturer is always going to try and find ways to get around what the regulations are. It's a bit of an arms race,” said McIlroy, who plays TaylorMade equipment but said his driver was not tested. “If there is some drivers out there that have went a little bit over the limit, then obviously guys shouldn't be playing them. I think the manufacturers are smart enough to know not to try to push it too much.”

There was no individual driver testing at last month’s U.S. Open, and it’s not expected to become the norm on the PGA Tour, but Slumbers did say the R&A tested drivers at an event earlier this year on the Japan Golf Tour.

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Carnoustie open to any number of scenarios

By Rex HoggardJuly 18, 2018, 12:07 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Carnoustie holds a distinct position within the Open Championship’s rotation of storied venues. It’s come by its nickname, Car-Nasty, honestly as the undisputed rough-and-tumble heavyweight of all the championship links.

Historically, Carnoustie is a beast. A punch in the mouth compared to the other stops on The Open dance card. If the likes of the Old Course and Muirfield are the fair ladies of the rotation, the Angus Coast brute would be the unfriendly bouncer.

As personas go, Carnoustie wears its reputation well, but the 147th edition of the game’s oldest championship has taken on a new look this week. It’s not so much the softer side of Carnoustie as it is a testament to the set up philosophy of the R&A.

Unlike its sister association in the United States, the R&A allows Mother Nature to decide what kind of test a championship will present and this Open is shaping up to be something far different than what the golf world is accustomed.

Instead of the thick, lush rough that ringed the fairways in 1999 and 2007, the last two stops at the par-71 layout, this year has a dust bowl feel to it. The stories have already become legend: Padraig Harrington hit a 457-yard drive on the 18th hole during a practice round that bounced and bounded into Barry Burn and on Monday Tiger Woods slashed a 333-yard 3-iron down the same power alley.

“It’s so fast. It’s nothing like ’99 – that was like a jungle. It was wet, rough was up, there was wind. In 2007, it was cold and green,” said Ernie Els, who has played two championships at Carnoustie. “But this is very, very dry. Very different.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Anywhere else these divergent conditions would simply be the nature of the game’s most hands-off major, but at Carnoustie it’s created an information vacuum and wild uncertainty.

Within a 48-hour window, two of the championship’s easy favorites offered diametrically contrasting philosophies on how they might play Carnoustie.

“There's eight or nine drivers we hit. Depending on the wind direction, we could hit more,” said Brooks Koepka, who won his second consecutive U.S. Open last month. “It's so burnt out, where there's a lot of opportunity where the rough's not quite as thick as I expected it to be.”

That was in contrast to how Jordan Spieth, this week’s defending champion, was thinking he would play the course.

“I talked to [caddie Michael Greller] a little bit about what he thinks, and he said, ‘You might hit a lot of 5-irons off the tee, you might wear out 5- and 4-irons off the tee instead of hitting 3- or 2-irons like you're used to,’” Spieth said.

Unlike previous championships that were played at Carnoustie, which were won by the player best prepared to take a punch, this one might come down to which strategy, controlled and calculated or bold and brash, works best.

In theory, the bombers seem to be on to something, primarily as a result of the dry conditions that have produced uncharacteristically thin and playable rough. The alternative is weaving irons in between the countless bunkers that pepper each fairway, which on links courses are widely considered true hazards compared to what players face at other major venues.

“I would definitely say it is a bomber’s course,” said Gary Woodland, who counts himself among the long-hitting set. “A lot of the bunkers here are 285, 290 [yards] to cover, for us that’s nothing. You can take them out of play, which normally isn’t the case because it’s windy and rainy over here.”

That line of thinking leads to a rather narrow list of potential contenders, from betting favorite Dustin Johnson to Rory McIlroy and Koepka. But that logic ignores the inherent unpredictability of The Open, where countless contenders have been undercut by the rub of a bad draw and the always-present danger of inclement weather.

Although this week’s forecast calls for continued dry weather, winds are currently forecast to reach 25 mph on Sunday which could upend game plans, regardless of how aggressive or conservative one intended to play the course.

Despite conventional thinking and the realities of a modern game that is being dominated more and more by long hitters, there are compelling arguments for the other side of the bash-or-bunt debate.

One needs to look no further than Woods’ record on similarly dusty tracks as an example of how a conservative approach can produce championship results. In 2006 at Royal Liverpool, Woods, who is playing his first Open since 2015, famously hit just one driver all week on his way to victory, and he was just as effective in 2000 at St. Andrews when the Old Course also played to a bouncy brown.

“It could be that way,” Woods said when asked to compare ’06 at Hoylake to this week. “Either case, I'm not going to hit that many long clubs off the tees.”

Adding to that uncertainty is Carnoustie’s track record in producing late drama on Sunday. This is, after all, the same slice of coast where Jean Van de Velde stepped to the 18th tee box with a three-stroke lead in 1999 only to slash his way to a closing triple-bogey 7 and the game’s most memorable, or regrettable, runner-up showing.

In ’07, the heartbreak went extra frames for Sergio Garcia, who appeared poised to win his first major championship before he bogeyed the last hole and lost a playoff to Harrington.

Even this week’s baked-out conditions can’t mitigate the importance and challenge of what many consider the most difficult Grand Slam finish; but the yellow hue has certainly created an added degree of uncertainty to an already unpredictable championship.