Through three rounds of the 2012 British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Australian Adam Scott holds a commanding four-shot lead after firing a 2-under 68 on Saturday. Unless the wheels fall completely off, Scott would appear in prime position to secure the first major championship of his career.
Scott has been a model of consistency to this point, following up his course-record-tying 64 in the first round with a 3-under 67 on Friday and today's solid round. Scott has also avoided any catastrophic mistakes, recording only four bogeys to this point, and Scott told USA Today's Steve DiMeglio that he feels the key to bringing the Claret Jug home is to maintain that same steady play.
I just need to do all the same stuff I've been doing that's been effective and it shouldn't really change just because it's Sunday. Obviously there are nerves and there's a finish line out there somewhere. But throughout my career somehow I've been able to handle that situation fairly well most of the time.
Scott's biggest challenge Sunday may well come from his playing partner in the final round. Graeme McDowell rode a third-round 67 into that final pairing on Sunday, and the 2010 U.S. Open champion is the only other player in the field who has played all three rounds of the tournament in the red.
Brandt Snedeker, who led the Open after 36 holes, and three-time champion Tiger Woods are also lurking in contention, but given Snedeker's six-bogey third round (more than Scott has in the entire tournament) and Woods' recent struggles on the weekend at majors, it's hard to imagine either mounting a serious challenge unless Scott pulls a Jean Van de Velde.
According to CBS Sports, the winds are supposed to pick up on Sunday at The Open, and anytime that happens on a links course things can get crazy in a hurry. However, if Scott brings the same level-headed approach and consistency to the final round on Sunday that he has in the first three rounds, then odds are Scott will emerge as the champion of the 141st British Open.
2012 British Open Leaderboard (through Round 3)
1.) Adam Scott (-11)
T2.) Graeme McDowell (-7)
T2.) Brandt Snedeker (-7)
4.) Tiger Woods (-6)
T5.) Ernie Els (-5)
T5.) Zach Johnson (-5)
7.) Thorbjorn Olesen (-4)
T8.) Thomas Aiken (-3)
T8.) Bill Haas (-3)
T10.) Mark Calcavecchia (-2)
T10.) Matt Kuchar (-2)
T10.) Louis Oosthuizen (-2)
T10.) Bubba Watson (-2)