NORTH BERWICK, Scotland — Thomas Detry and Matt Fitzpatrick took alternative routes to a tie for the third-round lead at the Scottish Open on Saturday.
Surrounded by vacated and scattered bar benches beside a grandstand at the back of the 17th green, Detry somehow got up and down for one of eight straight pars coming home in a 3-under 68 at The Renaissance Club.
“It was nice to hear the crowds and to see some beer flying around after that shot,” said Detry, who is seeking his first European Tour title.
Joining the Belgian on 14 under overall for the tournament was Fitzpatrick, whose own lucky break came at the par-3 14th when he overhit his tee shot — only to see the ball ricochet off a stone wall and back onto the green. He missed the short birdie putt but picked up two shots in his final three holes for a 67.
They were a stroke clear of top-ranked Jon Rahm, who dropped out of a three-way tie for the lead by missing a par putt from inside two feet at the par-5 No. 16. The U.S. Open champion crouched down and stared at the ball, not quite believing what happened.
Rahm, who started the third round in a share of the lead, rebounded from opening with two bogeys in his first three holes by making five birdies in an eight-hole span from No. 6. He shot 69.
“Just a couple of errors, whether it’s me mentally or technically, whatever it is,” said Rahm, who is playing his first event since winning his first major title at Torrey Pines last month. “It is unfortunate that it’s been happening quite a bit the last few days. I’m usually very, very solid inside five feet. That’s usually my comfortable range. It’s definitely unusual.”
“But I’m making it up with a couple other longer putts and hitting really, really good shots out there. My iron play was exceptional today and it was great off the tee. Hopefully I can keep that going tomorrow and clean up the little mistakes.”
Australian player Lucas Herbert, coming off a win at the Irish Open last week, shot 64 — the second-lowest round of the day — and was alone in fourth place on 12 under.
A further stroke back, and just three off the lead, were Scottie Scheffler (67), Wade Ormsby (66) and Min Woo Lee (65).