2021 British Open leaderboard breakdown: Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth behind Louis Oosthuizen after Round 3

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CBSSports.com 17 July, 2021 - 02:25pm 24 views

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Oosthuizen enters Open finale up 1 on Morikawa

ESPN 17 July, 2021 - 02:06pm

Even with his swing getting loose over the final hour Saturday, Louis Oosthuizen walked off the 18th green with a one-stroke lead at The Open and another shot at ending his 11-year wait for a second major title.

A third round as undulating as the fairways at Royal St. George's ended how it started, with Oosthuizen holding off Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth and three shots separating the trio.

Oosthuizen, a runner-up in the past two majors, overcame his first real wobble of the tournament on the back nine with a key par save on the 15th and an 8-foot birdie on the par-3 16th that led to a 1-under 69.

That put him at 12-under 198 as the South African stayed on course to be the first wire-to-wire winner at golf's oldest championship since Rory McIlroy in 2014.

"The biggest thing I can take from the PGA is knowing I can get it done," Morikawa said. "... It's going to be a grueling 18, but I look forward to it."

Spieth was tied for the lead until he bogeyed his final two holes -- missing a par putt from two feet at the 18th -- to complete a disappointing back nine of lost chances. The three-time major champion shot a 69 and is three shots back, just as he started the day.

It had all looked so different with an hour left in the day, with the three players tied for the lead at 11 under with four holes to play on a day the pin positions -- not the weather -- proved to be the greatest defense at Royal St. George's.

The wind didn't get above 10 mph, and a cloudless sky with bright sunshine looked sure to bring another day of low scoring. However, pins were tucked away, sometimes near slopes, while the firmer fairways brought the deep rough and pot bunkers into play.

It ensured some big names were unable to launch a challenge.

Top-ranked Dustin Johnson started four shots off the lead but plunged out of contention by making five bogeys in his opening 11 holes. Two late birdies could give him only a 73, leaving him eight shots behind.

Brooks Koepka, a four-time major champion, was a shot further back after managing a round of 72.

McIlroy started much further back but reached the turn at 4 under for the championship after making five birdies. The back nine was another story, and McIlroy threw an iron to the ground -- he called it a "little toss" -- during a run of three bogeys in five holes on his way to shooting 69, his first round in the 60s at Royal St. George's. It left him at 1 under and with no chance of a second Claret Jug.

Instead, Corey Conners (66) and Scottie Scheffler (69) moved into contention at 8 under while Jon Rahm -- looking to add The Open to his U.S. Open from last month -- shot 68 and was 7 under alongside Mackenzie Hughes and Dylan Frittelli.

Marcel Siem, who qualified from the second-tier Challenge Tour in Europe only last week, rebounded from an 8 after going out-of-bounds at the par-5 14th with two birdies in his final three holes. He was in a three-way tie for ninth place, six off the lead.

All of them are chasing Oosthuizen, who won at St. Andrews in 2010 and has rung up a career Grand Slam of runner-up finishes since then. That includes the U.S. Open last month, where he was leading with two holes to play until Rahm's birdie-birdie finish. He also was runner-up in the PGA Championship to Phil Mickelson.

The 149th Open: Rory McIlroy throws club in frustration during error-strewn finish to third round

Sky Sports 17 July, 2021 - 09:37am

McIlroy began his third round hours earlier than he had hoped after back-to-back 70s left him 11 shots behind halfway leader Louis Oosthuizen, but he revived his hopes of a late-afternoon tee time on Sunday with his best performance of the week over the first nine holes.

The 2014 champion carded five birdies against one mistake at the fifth in an outward 31 that lifted him to four under for the Championship, but he lost his way after the turn and gave shots back at 11 and 13, and he was unable to contain his anger after he pulled his tee shot into the left rough at the long 14th.

The poor strike with a long-iron was followed by an outstretched arm and a shout of "fore", and he launched the offending club into more long grass a few yards from the tee box.

McIlroy did escape with a par-five only to suffer another mishap on the 15th green, where his short putt for par circled around the lip and stayed out, and three closing pars at least secured his first sub-70 score of the tournament.

"Then the back nine played tough. They're sort of tucking the pins away. They've stretched the golf course out to as long as it can play. I was hitting two-iron into the 11th hole, that par-3, and that was sort of it - I missed a short putt there for par and it kind of killed the momentum I had.

"Not birdieing the par-five [14th] and making another couple bogeys on the way in, certainly it felt like a better round than one under par, but it was encouraging to see some of the golf that I played on that front nine.

"It's just a matter of trying to keep that going and try to turn those nine-hole stretches into 18-hole stretches, and then those 18-hole stretches into whole tournaments. It's getting there."

Oosthuizen maintains one-shot lead over Colin Morikawa

Daily Mail 17 July, 2021 - 04:59am

By Phil Casey, Press Association

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen remained the man to catch at the end of the third round of the 149th Open at Royal St George's.

Colin Morikawa finishes the third day as Oosthuizen's closest challenger, while American Jordan Spieth dropped away on the final few holes. 

Morikawa hit his tee-shot at the 16th to 20ft, Oosthuizen put his inside that and birdied to get back to 12 under. 

Louis Oosthuizen remains as the man to catch at the end of the third round of The Open

Jordan Spieth made a strong start but has dropped away after his bogey-bogey finish

Meanwhile, Spieth's, whose last major title came in the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale, approach to the penultimate hole rolled back down the false front, from where he three-putted for bogey.

Another three-putt, missing from two feet, saw another shot dropped at the last and the American, now three behind, headed straight to the practice green after his round.

Oosthuizen and Morikawa played their final two holes in regulation, meaning they would go out together again in the last group on Sunday with the South African holding a one-shot lead over his playing partner.   

Former Open winner Rory McIlroy had earlier thrown a club in frustration after squandering an ideal start to his third round.

Rory Mcllroy made a strong start in day three before coming apart in the back nine

McIlroy, who made the halfway cut with just a shot to spare after consecutive rounds of 70, climbed into the top 20 after firing five birdies in a front nine of 31, only to struggle home in 38 for a disappointing 69.

The 32-year-old, who is without a major title since 2014, dropped shots on the 11th and 13th and then hurled his long iron to the ground after pulling his tee shot on the par-five 14th into the rough.

McIlroy could only smile wryly when his par putt on the next horseshoed around the hole and stayed out, but the former world number one will not be happy with letting a promising position slip through his fingers.

'The front nine was great but it's turning that nine holes of golf into 18 holes and then turning 18 holes into an entire tournament,' McIlroy said. 'There are signs there it is going in the right direction, unfortunately I couldn't keep it going for the rest of the round.'

Cameron Smith climbed up the leaderboard with two early birdies in his round

Scotland's Robert MacIntyre had completed a 65 in brilliant fashion, picking up shots on the 14th and 17th before holing from 60 feet for another birdie on the 18th from a similar location to where Sandy Lyle almost came to grief on the 72nd hole of his title win in 1985.

'Obviously it was a bonus there at 18,' said the 24-year-old left-hander, who was sixth on his Open debut at Royal Portrush in 2019 and has made the cut in all seven of his major appearances to date.

'You are not expecting to hole that, you are just trying to get down in two. But my pace was great all day and I managed to put good pace on it, had a decent line and it went in.'

Bryson DeChambeau, whose complaint following his opening round that his driver 'sucks' prompted an angry response from his club manufacturers, was in the second group out on Saturday and shot 72 to finish three over.

McIlroy covered the front nine in 31 to move inside the top 20 before falling apart later on

Colin Morikawa, the world No 4, has taken Sandwich by storm on his debut at The Open

-12 L Oosthuizen (SA) 64 65 69

-11 C Morikawa (US) 67 64 68

-9 J Spieth (US) 65 67 69

-8 C Conners (Can) 68 68 66, S Scheffler (US) 67 66 69

-7 M Hughes (Can) 66 69 68, J Rahm (Spa) 71 64 68, D Frittelli (SA) 66 67 70

-6 J Harding (SA) 67 67 70, C Smith (Aus) 69 67 68, M Siem (Ger) 67 67 70

-5 D Berger (US) 70 67 68, P Casey 68 67 70, S Lowry (Ire) 71 65 69, W Simpson (US) 66 72 67, K Streelman (US) 70 69 66, A Sullivan 67 67 71

-4 J Dahmen (US) 69 68 69, E Grillo (Arg) 70 64 72, D Johnson (US) 68 65 73, J Kokrak (US) 70 70 66, R MacIntyre 72 69 65, C Tringale (US) 69 66 71, D Willett 67 69 70

-3 M Fitzpatrick 71 69 67, R Fox (NZ) 68 68 71, L Griffin (US) 69 70 68, B Harman (US) 65 71 71, B Koepka (US) 69 66 72, A Rai 70 69 68, J Rose 67 70 70, M Wallace 70 68 69

-2 D Burmester (SA) 70 67 71, T Finau (US) 70 66 72, T Fleetwood 67 71 70, T Gooch (US) 69 72 67, V Hovland (Nor) 68 71 69, A Rozner (Fra) 70 71 67, B Snedeker (US) 68 68 72, D van Tonder (SA) 68 66 74

-1 R McIlroy 70 70 69, I Poulter 72 66 71, S Horsfield 70 70 69

+ 1 A Ancer (Mex) 69 71 71, M Armitage 69 72 70, B Hebert (Fra) 66 74 71, J Thomson 71 67 73, B Wiesberger (Aut) 71 70 70

+ 2 H English (US) 75 65 72, B Horschel (US) 70 69 73, J Niemann (Chi) 69 70 73, C Reavie (US) 72 66 74, X Schauffele (US) 69 71 72, A Scott (Aus) 73 66 73

+3 R Bland 70 70 73, B DeChambeau (US) 71 70 72, P Harrington (Ire) 72 68 73, J Janewattananond (Tha) 70 69 74, C Kim (US) 70 69 74, R Kinoshita (Jpn) 72 69 72, J. C. Ritchie (SA) 71 70 72

+5 Y Lin (Chn) * 69 72 74, B Steele (US) 73 68 74

+ 6 S Burns (US) 71 69 76, R Fowler (US) 69 72 75

+ 7 K Kisner (US) 70 69 78, R Mansell 72 69 76, P Saksansin (Tha) 73 68 76  

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MARTIN SAMUEL: Rory's mask slips after frustrating round at The Open

Daily Mail 16 July, 2021 - 04:31pm

By Martin Samuel - Sport for the Daily Mail

Everyone thinks they can read an athlete’s body language. The hurried, anxious walk to take a penalty kick; the nervous shuffling at the batsman’s crease; stepping away from the putt at a vital moment; the first boxer to drop his eyes at the weigh-in.

And sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong. The penalty goes in, the batsman makes a hundred, the putt drops like a stone, the shy fighter becomes the champion.

One thing we can all agree on, however, is this: Basil Fawlty is not a good look for anyone. Bent double, anguished, agonised: that is a sure sign things will not go well. Rory McIlroy would like it to be thought that he is absolutely at peace with his golf game, but every now and then the mask slips. It did on the seventh at Royal St George’s on Friday.

Rory McIlroy's body language told the full story on day two of the Open in Sandwich, Kent

This year’s Open course is a par 70. It contains just two par five holes. Par fives are the professionals’ friend. Every tournament pro’s eyes light up when he sees one. They almost all have the game to reach the green in two on a good day, or with a following wind. So par fives are opportunities.

A run of 15 golfers at the par five seventh on Friday — game 30 to game 34 — shot 10 birdies, one eagle and no bogeys. Par fives are where the pros make hay.

And McIlroy was in position A as he stood over his second shot on the seventh.

Heart of the fairway, aiming for the heart of the green. Here was the chance he needed to get his momentum going.

So when he pushed his second shot into a bunker short and right of the target, his physical collapse, almost in stages like a demolished cooling tower, revealed the frustration he works so hard to hide.

The Ulsterman set out with hopes of building on his solid opening round score on Friday

However, McIlroy was a picture of anguish as he failed to make headway in a frustrating round

It was a similar move to the one John Cleese devised for that moment in The Psychiatrist when Basil Fawlty’s impotent fury at his circumstances becomes overwhelming.

Bent double, falling to his haunches, covering his head with his jacket, he ends up on the floor. Arsene Wenger — similar physique — came close on occasions during his last days at Arsenal. So, too, did McIlroy.

Slowly, he sank to his knees in disbelief at what he had done, the club stretched out flat on the grass in front of him. Later, he would try to give the impression that golf was scarcely important in his life.

It is hard to believe this. Friday was close to perfect on the Kent coast. The sun shone, the wind — certainly when McIlroy was out — was barely a factor. Several players came close to the course record. Collin Morikawa started at three under, finished nine under. Emiliano Grillo started level par, finished six under.

It was a day when a player of McIlroy’s talent could have made real inroads.

The 32-year-old's frustrations boiled over as he let slip his mask of peace on the course

McIlroy's demeanour was akin to Basil Fawlty

Instead, he started level par, and finished there as well. It was the round that never was; the man who wasn’t there. And one senses McIlroy knew it, too.

He got a little run going at mid-point, erased a few early bogeys, got his numbers down to below par. Then at the par three 16th, he steered his ball from the tee into a pot bunker guarding the green to the right. McIlroy stood, then bowed his head, and put his hands on his knees.

He just couldn’t get ahead. He splashed out from the sand perfectly, then gave the shot up with his putter anyway.

On the next, he missed a two-foot putt: another bogey. It was hard to see how he could recover from a day of standing still.

He would make the cut here, but little more.

And sometimes we read too much in an individual’s body language. On Friday morning, one headline connected a troublesome butterfly putting him off a shot with McIlroy’s wider jitters.

Yet try to hit a golf ball with a butterfly fluttering around your head. Try to concentrate for more than two seconds on anything, in fact. Butterflies are gorgeous lunatics, their patterns of movement would break any man’s concentration.

Something appears wrong with McIlroy after a dismal round in resplendent conditions

One might as well argue that McIlroy’s skittishness around a herd of stampeding elephants or a disturbed hornets’ nest revealed his inner turmoil. Yet something is wrong, of that there is little doubt. McIlroy should not be looking back close to seven years now at his last major win. He should not be looking up at a ballpark 50 names on the Open leaderboard, in favourable conditions.

The professional view is that it is McIlroy’s wedge shots, his approaches to the greens, that let him down. In a sentence it seems a small adjustment; in reality, it is proving as vast as the dunes around this course.

‘It’s close, I guess that’s the thing,’ said McIlroy. ‘I feel like I could have squeezed. If I was really on my game and sharp with how I’ve played the last two days, I probably could have been six or seven under.

‘So it’s close — just not close enough. That’s the way it’s been for the last couple of months and I’ve just got to keep working on it and persisting, just keep my head down and keep going.’

McIlroy says he is not trying too hard as he searches for an end to his seven-year major hoodoo

Was he trying too hard? ‘Not at all,’ McIlroy insisted. ‘I’ve got four of them. Jeez, look, I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I get to do what I love for a living. I have a beautiful family. My life is absolutely perfect at the minute. I want for nothing, so it’s not a case of trying too hard for sure.’ It felt, almost, as if he protested too much. After all, it is possible to have a lovely family, a lovely life, and a successful career in the rear-view mirror.

It is possible that McIlroy’s protestations are a defensive mechanism because a different strategy — speaking openly about his desire to win the US Masters and complete a career Grand Slam — seemed to backfire and burden him with desire and expectation. Might he grow equally impatient of a Zen approach?

‘No, not really,’ McIlroy countered. ‘Look, it’s fine. I go back two years and I was walking away after Friday’s round in this tournament. So I’m not like that at all.

‘It was nice to guarantee some weekend golf. I’ve just got to try to make the most of that.’

Yet anyone can guarantee weekend golf. That’s what amateurs do. Book a time, find a buddy, off you go. McIlroy didn’t just play weekend golf. He competed. He challenged. He was one of those names, one of those guys whose presence lit up a leaderboard.

It is why, as hard as he tries to convince us of his ease, Rory McIlroy, weekend golfer, will never be a convincing look.

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