British Open 2012: Final Predictions for Sunday's 4th Round
Adam Scott (-11) takes a four-shot lead over Graeme McDowell and Brandt Snedeker into the final round of the 2012 British Open Sunday at Royal Lytham.
In addition to those three fabulous players, the most famous golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, is five shots back. And Ernie Els and Zach Johnson have both had impressive tournaments thus far and are glancing up at Scott while down six shots.
At best it appears to be a six-person golf match Sunday. Who will win? What is going to happen?
Ernie Els and Zach Johnson Will Make a Run Together
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"Making a run" might not be enough in Sunday's final round at the British Open. Even with a great run, truly getting in contention is likely going to take Adam Scott coming back to the field.
But with Ernie Els and Zach Johnson playing together, and possessing similar styles, no matter the conditions or difficulty of the course, the two figure to make a run together.
Starting at five-under par requires them to make significant progress early in the round to put pressure on front-runner Adam Scott. If they can do that, Sunday could be quite interesting.
Tiger Will Continue to Be Tiger
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Tiger Woods has never come from behind on Day 4 to win a major title. And there's little reason to believe he will Sunday at Royal Lytham.
Most likely he will continue his solid and consistent play from the first three days of the tournament. That said, being five shots down entering the fourth round he is also likely to take a few more chances than he has the first three days.
An aggressive approach could pay dividends or cause Woods to fall from his fourth-place standing. Either way, he is essentially continuing the narrative he has played his entire professional career.
No Player Will Rise from Way Down, as Paul Lawrie Did in 1999
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Sure there are multiple players capable of making up a 10-shot differential the way Paul Lawrie did back in 1999—Luke Donald, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler among them—it seems unlikely to say the least.
This year's tournament has been all about players' consistency. In other words, the majority of players in the field this year have shot the same score each round. And nobody has made a significant run in one round who wasn't already playing well.
Of course, that could change any day. And that day could easily be Sunday. There is just very little reason to believe that will actually happen.
Graeme McDowell Will Challenge Adam Scott
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If anyone is going to make a legitimate run at Adam Scott's perch atop the leaderboard, it is to be Graeme McDowell. Perhaps it is because I want at least one of my predictions from this week to hold up; that is having a European player win the tournament.
But McDowell has prototypical experience for the moment. He has been in the final group now in consecutive major championships. He of course won the 2010 U.S. Open and is one of golf's most underrated players.
And he made a great run Saturday when most other players were simply trying to keep afloat above the heavy water of a major championship.
Adam Scott Will Hold on
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No, Adam Scott has never been in the position he is in—leading a major going into Day 4—but at 11-under par he has been more than consistent over the course of the first three rounds.
His tee-to-green game has been stellar and his putting more than adequate. In fact, he has been almost flawless all week.
The importance of that should be obvious. All Scott has to do is play exactly as he has the first three days, and the claret jug will belong to him alone on Sunday evening.
It's nowhere near automatic, but if you're a betting man (or woman) it would be unwise to bet against it.