There has been a Spanish inquisition of sorts at the 2013 Open Championship. It remains to be seen whether Spain can celebrate its first Open champion since the late Seve Ballesteros won at Royal Lytham in 1988, but for a country that provided only six golfers in the original Open field of 156 players, the Spanish bull is fighting fit at Muirfield.
Five of Spain’s contingent in the Open made the cut, which is a great conversion from mid-week to weekend golfers. Consider the ratio of golfers who made the cut according to their nationality; here are the top eight countries in terms of the size of their contingent at the Open:
1. United States: 50 in field – 29 made cut
2. England: 17 in field – 8 made cut
3. Australia: 12 in field – 5 made cut
4. South Africa: 11 in field – 7 made cut
5. Scotland: 10 in field – 5 made cut
6. Sweden: 9 in field – 4 made cut
7. Japan: 8 in field – 2 made cut
8. Spain: 6 in field – 5 made cut
In percentage terms, 83.3% of Spain’s Open golfers are playing in the third round today, with South Africa second best at 63.6%.
At the time of writing, late into the third round, Sergio Garcia has led the Spanish charge, as one of three golfers in the field to have posted a third round low score of 68, three under par. He sits in a share of 14th, five shots off the lead, while halfway leader Miguel Angel Jimenez and Rafael Cabrera-Bello are battling from above, with both among the leaderboard’s top-10.
“Finally I felt like I knew what I was doing out there,” said Garcia, 33, after his round. “It was definitely breezier than it was yesterday, but I hit some good shots and was able to trust my shots a little bit better. Thanks to that I was able to score nicely.”
Yet to win a major, Garcia has accumulated seven top-10 finishes in the Open since 2001, including an agonising runner-up finish to Padraig Harrington at Carnoustie in 2007, after Garcia’s putt to win the Claret Jug on the 18th lipped out.
Robin Barwick travelled to Muirfield with Mercedes-Benz, Official Patron of the Open Championship. Mercedes-Benz – dedicated to the perfect drive