After a fascinating third round, history beckons for Jordan Spieth at Carnoustie. Here is the full story of a pulsating Saturday at the Open
Moving day at the 2018 Open Championship will live long in the memory. With benign weather conditions, the best players in the world put on a masterclass of shot-making and has left us with a stacked leaderboard as history beckons for Jordan Spieth at Carnoustie.
It did not take long to realise that Carnoustie would never play as easy again as it did today. The leaderboard was packed with red from the off and it was two British players who emerged from the pack to post impressive scores. Justin Rose shot a sparkling 64 and Chris Wood recorded a 66 to finish on -4 and -3 respectively. For the latter, a shot at history was very much on the cards. After birdieing the 13th to go seven under par for his round and with a short par 5 to follow, the Bristolian was in touching distance of the lead. But two bogeys to finish mean he will need something similar tomorrow.
Next up was Tiger Woods. The 14-time major Champion took a more aggressive approach in round three and it paid off. In truth, he swung the club better today than he has for some time. His long game was superb and the resulting 66 sent the Carnoustie crowd into raptures. Something special was happening.
The home interest came in the shape of Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood. Neither man played his best golf but despite the putts refusing to drop they are both in with a chance of winning the Claret Jug. Both men will begin the final round at -5, four behind the leaders. At Carnoustie, a four shot deficit is nothing.
At the top of the leaderboard are a trio of Americans, Xander Schauffele, Kevin Kisner and last year’s Open Champion Jordan Spieth. For Kisner and Schauffele, they were breathing rarefied air of major contention but both remained calm as they pressed on throughout the round. The true test of their nerve is yet to come but the signs are good – we could easily find ourselves with a new American name to etch onto the Claret Jug.
Spieth on the other hand was channeling some of the magic that helped him hoist the trophy 12 months ago. He was the only man in the field to drive the opening green and the eagle putt that followed was an ominous sign for the rest. With his long game in fine fettle and his putter returning to its reliable best, the 24 year-old will begin the final round as the favourite. Indeed, history beckons for Jordan Spieth at Carnoustie but he will need to swing the club as well again in a strengthening breeze.
With 18 players within five shots of the lead, the final round at Carnoustie is all set to be a thriller. Throw in what is perhaps the most intimidating closing stretch in the game and a freshening breeze and we have all the ingredients we need for something extraordinary.