Els Keeps on Cruising in Australia
A trio of Australians in Greg Norman, Peter O'Malley and Stephen Leaney are tied for second at 8-under 136 along with Mark Pilkington of Wales.
Despite dropping three shots on his round, including a short par miss on the 17th, Els managed to stay clear of the rest of the field.
'I could have got a lot more out of the round,' said Els. 'I had quite a few chances but you can't always play the way you want to play.'
The South African hit a 2-iron just short of the green on the par-5 9th to set up the first of three consecutive birdies around the turn. On the 12th he had a chance to make it four straight but his birdie try missed right.
Els played at even-par until the bogey on the 17th. On the following hole he hit his approach to within 15-feet of cup and the two-time U.S. Open winner then rolled in the putt for his sixth birdie of the day.
After capturing the Vodacom Players Championship at the Royal Cape Golf Club in South Africa at the end of 2001, Els extended his streak of years with a victory worldwide to 10.
Norman played a solid round that included an eagle on the par-5 10th, his first. The 46-year-old added back-to-back birdies from the 17th and later got up and down out of a green-side bunker for a birdie on the 5th. His only mistake came with a bogey at the 8th, but the Australian countered with a birdie on the last.
'I thought the pins were tough yesterday,' said Norman. 'I think there are some tougher ones out there today. All in all I can't complain. I look forward to playing well on the weekend.'
O'Malley enjoyed a bogey-free round en route to a 68 while Pilkington had five birdies to go along with three bogeys for a round of 2-under 70.
The best round of the day belonged to Richard Lee, who had eight birdies to go along with an eagle on the par-5 2nd for a course-record 10-under 62. He broke the mark of nine-under 63 originally established by Ian Baker-Finch in 1990.
'I'm really amazed with what I've done,' said Lee. 'I thought if I got through the first nine even-par then I could get three birdies on the way back I'd make the cut.'
The 28-year-old New Zealander did much better finishing at 7-under 137 to stand alone four shots off the lead.
Australians Robert Allenby (68) and Peter Lonard (71) were joined by South African Trevor Immelman (69) and David Howell (70) of England at 6-under 138.
Adam Scott (72) of Australia is part of a group at 5-under while two-time defending champion Michael Campbell (72) of New Zealand joined England's Nick Faldo and nine others at 4-under 140.
John Daly converted an eagle on the par-5 9th, his last, to fall on the cut mark at even-par 144.
'I just hung in there and tried to do my best,' said Daly. 'That eagle was a big relief.'
One of the notables who failed to qualify for the weekend was England's Justin Rose. The 21-year-old, who earned his first European Tour victory at the Dunhill Championship two weeks ago, had two double-bogeys on the round to finish at 2-over 146.
Full-Field Scores from the Heineken Classic
Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1
Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.
So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.
Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.
Jordan Spieth: 7/4
Xander Schauffele: 5/1
Kevin Kisner: 11/2
Tiger Woods: 14/1
Francesco Molinari: 14/1
Rory McIlroy: 14/1
Kevin Chappell: 20/1
Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1
Alex Noren: 25/1
Zach Johnson: 30/1
Justin Rose: 30/1
Matt Kuchar: 40/1
Webb Simpson: 50/1
Adam Scott: 80/1
Tony Finau: 80/1
Charley Hoffman: 100/1
Austin Cook: 100/1
Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.
One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.
McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.
“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”
McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.
“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”
Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.
Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.
“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”
One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.
After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.
“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”
Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.
This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.
“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”
Final-round tee times for the 147th Open Championship
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth begins his quest for a second consecutive claret jug and fourth major overall at 9:45 a.m. ET Sunday at Carnoustie, playing alongside Xander Schauffele. This marks the first time Schauffele has ever held a 54-hole lead in his career.
The Kevins – Kisner and Chappell – are in the penultimate group, 10 minutes earlier at 9:35 a.m. Kisner is tied with Spieth and Schauffele at 9 under par. Chappell is two shots back at 7 under.
But it’s the next group that has people interested the most. Tiger Woods is paired with Francesco Molinari at 9:25 a.m. Woods, in search of his 15th major championship and first in 10 years, shot a third-round 66 to vault into a tie for sixth place, four shots behind the lead. He began the day six shots behind. Molinari has two wins and two second-place finishes in his last four events.
Rory McIlroy was within striking distance of the lead but bogeyed two of the last three holes to drop into a sixth-place tie. He is paired with 2017 Open runner-up Matt Kuchar at 9:05 a.m.
3:00AM ET: Beau Hossler
3:10AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Rafa Cabrera Bello
3:20AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Si-Woo Kim
3:30AM ET: Luke List, Keegan Bradley
3:40AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
3:50AM ET: Tyrrell Hatton, Paul Dunne
4:00AM ET: Cameron Davis, Brooks Koepka
4:10AM ET: Brett Rumford, Kevin Na
4:20AM ET: Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey
4:30AM ET: Gavin Green, Ryan Fox
4:45AM ET: Shubhankar Sharma, Gary Woodland
4:55AM ET: Sam Locke (a), Masahiro Kawamura
5:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Rhys Enoch
5:15AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Jason Day
5:25AM ET: Adam Hadwin, Yuta Ikeda
5:35AM ET: Sung Kang, Brandon Stone
5:45AM ET: Thomas Pieters, Stewart Cink
5:55AM ET: Lee Westwood, Julian Suri
6:05AM ET: Tom Lewis, Marc Leishman
6:15AM ET: Ross Fisher, Jason Dufner
6:30AM ET: Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed
6:40AM ET: Phil Mickelson, Eddie Pepperell
6:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Bernhard Langer
7:00AM ET: Michael Kim, Patrick Cantlay
7:10AM ET: Shaun Norris, Lucas Herbert
7:20AM ET: Sean Crocker, Louis Oosthuizen
7:30AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Satoshi Kodaira
7:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Danny Willett
7:50AM ET: Haotong Li, Kyle Stanley
8:00AM ET: Chris Wood, Byeong Hun An
8:15AM ET: Erik Van Rooyen, Yusaku Miyazato
8:25AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
8:35AM ET: Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman
8:45AM ET: Justin Rose, Austin Cook
8:55AM ET: Tommy Fleetwood, Zach Johnson
9:05AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy
9:15AM ET: Webb Simpson, Alex Noren
9:25AM ET: Francesco Molinari, Tiger Woods
9:35AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Kevin Chappell
9:45AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele