Goosen Closing in on Lead
McLean carded an eagle and eight birdies with just one dropped shot in a superb round of 64 which was all the more impressive in that it was played in the teeth of a strong south-eastern which blew throughout the afternoon.
One shot behind McLean is Des Terblanche after a 66 in benign morning conditions, and a stroke further off the pace are three young South African tyros ' Jean Hugo (66) Bradford Vaughan (66) and Martin Maritz (67).
Nobody, however, will have missed the looming presence of reigning U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen who is a shot further back after a 66 of his own.
Ernie Els posted a 68 to stand at 6-under, the same score as defending champion Trevor Immelman.
Casualties of the halfway cut ' which fell at level par - included PGA Tour star Rory Sabbatini who crashed to a 78, as well as consistent tour performers Andre Cruse and Desvonde Botes.
'Things went my way today,' McLean said afterwards. 'I made a lot of putts and remained patient. I didnt hit that many fairways and just managed to get the ball in the hole.
'Ive had a tough year, to be honest. I took some time off at the beginning and tried to make a swing change, but when I went back out onto the European Challenge Tour my mind was going crazy and my confidence took a knock.
'I think I hit rock bottom around July, but things have gradually got better since then. When you hit rock bottom the only way is up and Ive never practiced as hard as I did this year. When it gets between your ears, golf is a difficult game, and thats what I allowed to happen.'
Terblanches round included five birdies and an eagle two at the par-4 1st ' his 10th ' when he holed his second shot.
'It was a 9-iron from 146 yards,' Terblanche said. 'I didnt see it go in, but someone up there on the green said it was perfect and obviously it was.'
'I didnt actually play that well yesterday but its got better and better and Im actually hitting it good now. Things are looking good.'
Big-hitting Vaughan, who is one of the most exciting young talents on the Sunshine Tour, blotted his card with a bogey from the middle of the fairway at the relatively straightforward 18th. Remarkably, he was using a new set of irons for the first time, after losing faith in his regular set on Thursday.
'I dont think my manager knew what to say to me,' Vaughan laughed. 'But I told him not to worry and that I knew Id be able to hit them ' and thats what I did.'
Goosen meanwhile was delighted with an improved showing following his 69 in the first round, although still felt that he was not hitting the ball as well as he could around a course that received almost no protection from a strangely muted south-easterly breeze.
'The greens were definitely a lot easier in the morning than they were yesterday afternoon,' Goosen said. 'I actually played worse today but this time managed to sink some putts. On the first nine I only hit three greens in regulation ' I think the holiday swing is setting in.
'Although the wind isnt really blowing, the course actually played harder than the first round with the way its set up. It would be good if the wind got up a little over the weekend ' obviously we dont want gales, but a club or two difference could be interesting. Ive seen one or two of the pin positions for tomorrow and if the wind blows we could have some fun out there.'
The reigning U.S. Open champion also admitted that he was ready for a rest after the most successful year of his career, but one that has clearly taken a huge amount out of the genial man from Pietersburg.
'Im looking forward to the holiday coming up. Its getting to the stage now where Im starting to get a bit frustrated when Im hitting what I think are good shots but I dont get the result that I want.
'Im getting a bit tired and frustrated ' gatvol,' he said. 'But Ill give it my all over the weekend. Only two rounds to go for the year so I might as well try and finish off on a high.'
Full Field Scores from the Vodacom Players Championship
Watch: All of Tiger's birdies in Rd. 3 of The Open
Tiger Woods started the third round of The Open at even par, having made seven birdies and seven bogeys over the first 36 holes at Carnoustie.
Following three pars to start on Saturday, Woods went on a birdie binge.
No. 1 came with this putt at the par-4 fourth.
No. 2 with this two-putt at the par-5 sixth.
No. 3 thanks to this 30-footer at the par-4 ninth.
No. 4 after nearly jarring his approach shot on the par-4 10th.
And No. 5 when he almost drove the green at the par-4 11th and two-putted, from just off the green, from 95 feet.
At 5 under for the day, and 5 under for the championship, he was one off the lead at this point.
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods, in search of his 15th career major championship title, started the weekend six off the lead at Carnoustie. We're tracking him in Round 3 of The Open.
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Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.
Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.
Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.
After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.
“I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”
Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).
It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:
Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)
Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)
8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.
Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)
Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.
1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.