Jordan Spieth surges and Tiger Woods shines as Open comes to the boil

first_imgTopics Read more Read more Since you’re here… Play Video Whatever transpires during the closing round of this, the 147th Open Championship, we will always have Saturday. At 13 minutes past four the Open dynamic sharply shifted. We had been here before, several times; a long, long time ago.Tiger Woods sat atop the leaderboard. Those who doubted that a Tiger Effect still lingers, a decade on from his last major win, surely had their scepticism doused. Woods’s position clearly registered with fellow players. Galleries flocked to watch the closing stages of the 42-year-old’s round. Social media lit up, including by way of commentary from golfers and professionals in others sports. At long last Woods was backing up excitement with performance. His problem was, Jordan Spieth seemed to take umbrage. The Open 2018 “There’s a couple of holes that people may be standing 15, 20 deep on each side,” said Shaun Norris, Woods’s Saturday partner. “It’s like playing with a mythical creature. It doesn’t feel real.”As rather sums up recent times of the Tiger, he was to wobble on the closing stretch. A bogey at the 16th after a missed green at the par three meant he had to settle for a 66. This, however, was his best major round since 2011. It was his lowest in the Open since the second round at Hoylake 12 years ago. Woods was to prevail on Merseyside; from within touching distance of the lead he has a chance to replicate that triumph here. An outrageous piece of fortune at the 18th, when Woods’s ball seemed to behave contrary to gravity by bouncing away from rather than into the Barry Burn, suggested the golfing gods are on his side. Maybe they feel the 14-times major champion, an individual once consumed by personal and physical chaos, has served his penance.“It’s certainly possible,” said a coy Woods when asked whether he believes Scotland will witness his most iconic victory of all. His attitude remained the same when asked his opinion about the scale of such an achievement. “We’re not there yet. I know what you’re trying to say in asking, but let me try and get there first. Then ask me again.” Share via Email Read more Should Spieth take the Claret Jug back to Texas, a major haul of four including a successful defence of the oldest one would mean he could be classed as one of the greatest to play the game. Spieth is only 24.Moving day was allowed to become fast-moving day because of calm Angus conditions. That is forecast to change on Sunday, with gusts perhaps exceeding 20mph. Spieth is among those who will rub their hands at the prospect. It was sensible for a remaining Open field, which started the third round separated by only nine shots, to take advantage of Carnoustie when it was as submissive as it is ever likely to be.The leaderboard is brilliantly versatile. Spieth, Woods, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy are the major course-and-distance specialists; to varying extents, of course. For Kisner, Schauffele, Francesco Molinari, Chappell and Alex Noren there is the life goal of a maiden victory in one of golf’s big four. Noren’s 67, for a five-under total, was bittersweet given a bogey at the last after the Swede had clattered a stand with his approach shot.Rose started the scoring show, his 64 matching the lowest round in a Carnoustie Open. The Englishman, who survived the cut by only one, cannot be discounted at four under. As attention – reams of it – diverted towards the marauding Woods, Molinari posted a 65. The Italian’s aggregate is six under. Wins on both the European and PGA Tours this season, plus an uncannily accurate game from the tee, render Molinari a clear and present danger. … we have a small favour to ask. 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We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Reuse this content European Tour “It was the day to be aggressive,” Molinari said. “There was not a lot of wind, and after the rain [on Friday] the course is a little bit softer. But I played well, had quite a lot of chances that went close by or it could have been even better.”Simpson tied Woods’s 54-hole score courtesy of a 67. McIlroy, Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Kuchar complete the five-under contingent.Phil Mickelson’s 70 means he needs snookers to win the Claret Jug again from a starting Sunday position of minus one. “The game’s just hard for me right now,” said the 2013 champion. “I don’t feel like I’m playing bad, but just it’s not coming easy.”Woods once knew that feeling only too well. On a breathless Saturday afternoon he reminded all onlookers – and possibly himself – how good the alternative can be. McIlroy and Fleetwood disappointed but both remain in Open contention Share on LinkedIn Tiger Woods seems surprised after surging into Open contention – video 0:56 Tiger Woods rolls back the years and roars into Open contention with 66 Share on Messenger Support The Guardian The Open Share on WhatsApp PGA Tour If one statistic easily works against Woods – he has never won a major from outside the top five after 36 holes, having been 29th in this one – there is the not insignificant matter of a young pretender. Spieth, regardless of poor pre-Open form, is the one competitor none of his peers fancy battling with in events such as these. A modern-day Woods, if you like. The defending champion, inspired by a wonderful eagle to start day three, signed for a 65 to share the clubhouse lead at nine under. That is four ahead of Woods.By close of play, as Spieth warned of an altogether different challenge on day four, he was joined at minus nine by Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner. The latter refuses to go away; he has not scored higher than 70 over three rounds. Kevin Chappell, at seven under, is next in line. The Observer Jordan Spieth news Jordan Spieth sends Open warning after early eagle sparks surge Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Golf Tiger Woods Share on Facebooklast_img

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