British Open: Jordan Spieth Moves Into Position for a Repeat
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Final rounds of the British Open at Carnoustie are historically weird in addition to wondrous.
The table again looks set for something memorable.
Heading into Sunday, the Open leaderboard was a densely packed mix of players on the rise, established threats in addition to megastars via different golfing generations: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy in addition to again, at long last, Tiger Woods.
Spieth, a leader of the fresh wave, has not won a tournament since last year’s British Open as he has struggled, above all, with his putting. yet he was pressure-proof on Saturday having a bogey-free round of 65 in which gave him a share of the lead at nine under par with two fellow Americans, Xander Schauffele in addition to Kevin Kisner.
Kevin Chappell, another American, will be in fourth place at seven under, followed by Francesco Molinari of Italy at six under in addition to seven players at 5 under: Woods, McIlroy, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Alex Noren, Matt Kuchar in addition to Tommy Fleetwood.
Still in touch at four under will be Justin Rose, the English star who broke loose in calm conditions on Saturday morning to shoot a 64, the lowest score of the day.
Although the wind picked up from the late afternoon, Carnoustie was far via its nastiest, in addition to in which has generally been a long way via brutal.
In 1999, when the Open returned to in which tiny coastal town after a 24-year hiatus, the winning score was six over par.
Through three rounds in which year, 39 players are under par, in addition to Saturday’s average score of 70.228 on the par-71 design made in which the first round of any British Open at Carnoustie with an average under par.
“Car-nice-ty,” quipped Johnny Miller, the 1976 Open champion who will be today an NBC analyst.
The course, which has inflicted so much pain through the decades, was certainly there for the birdieing.
“in which was the day to be aggressive today,” Molinari said. “There was not a lot of wind, in addition to after the rain, yes, the course will be a little bit softer.”
Rose, who started off the day at three over par, set the tone, in addition to Woods took the hint having a throwback performance in which had Scottish fans rushing to join his gallery.
Woods, deploying his driver regularly in addition to effectively, had six birdies in addition to just one bogey in addition to even took a share of the lead at six under for close to 30 minutes.
“Seeing what guys were shooting, I thought I had to go out in addition to get in which,” he said.
Though he could drop back as the later starters made their moves, Woods dodged major danger at Carnoustie’s perilous in addition to watery 18th, where his tee shot just missed landing from the trench known as the Barry Burn. He finished having a 66, his best round at a major since his 66 from the second round of the 2011 Masters.
Woods has not won a major since the 2008 United States Open, in addition to in all 14 of his major victories he held the lead going into the final round.
He will not be the leader in which time, yet of those ahead of him, only Spieth has won a major: the Masters in addition to United States Open in 2015 in addition to the British Open at Royal Birkdale last year.
After successfully fiddling with his putting technique earlier from the week, Spieth will try to repeat at the same course where Jean van de Velde blew a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole of the 1999 Open before losing in a playoff to Paul Lawrie. in which will be also the course where Sergio Garcia just missed a could-be winning putt in 2007 on the 72nd hole before losing in a playoff to Padraig Harrington.
Spieth has imploded having a Sunday lead before, faltering at the 2016 Masters. yet after shooting a 65 at Birkdale from the third round last year, he overcame a shaky start from the final round to go 5 under on the last 5 holes.
“I felt like I had something I had to prove to some other people with last year’s Open in addition to to myself, genuinely to myself more than anything,” he said. “I don’t feel like I have to prove anything to anyone at in which point. I’m playing golf for me today. I’ve kind of got a cleared mind. I’ve made a lot of progress over the year in which’s been kind of an off year, a building year.”
Schauffele, like Spieth, will be 24. yet while Spieth turned professional midway through his sophomore year at the University of Texas, Schauffele played for a year at Long Beach State in addition to for three more at San Diego State, then turned professional in 2015. On Sunday they will be paired from the final group.
“He was out on tour while I was still in college,” Schauffele said. “I watched him on TV a lot more than anyone else in my class, so in which’s cool to be out here.”
After winning twice on the PGA Tour last season, Schauffele was named rookie of the year. in which season, he finished in a tie for second at the Players Championship in addition to then finished in a tie for sixth at the United States Open.
He has also demonstrated an affinity for links golf, tying for 20th at the British Open last year in addition to positioning himself to win here having a 67 on Saturday, when his round ended having a flourish: a clutch, 20-foot birdie putt on 18.
McIlroy, the four-time major winner via Northern Ireland, attracted the crowds in addition to the buzz around their group on Saturday. yet Schauffele was the steadier flame as McIlroy bogeyed two of the last three holes to finish having a 70.
“All the guys I’ve talked to said live in which up while you can, fly under the radar,” Schauffele said. “Like just today, I played in front of what you call Rory’s crowd, I guess. in addition to guys were just yelling all the time, even while he was trying to putt, in addition to he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting.”
yet the pressure will undoubtedly rise on Sunday afternoon, with stronger winds expected in addition to the claret jug at stake. Spieth reluctantly handed the trophy back in a ceremony on Monday.
today he will be in a position to reclaim possession in a hurry, yet if Carnoustie has taught us anything, in which will be to anticipate a wild ride.
“Expect the unexpected,” Spieth said.