With roughly half the field being drawn out of the competition at the halfway stage, this weekend marks the point where The Open Championship will really put its best golf on display.
Clear from the first two days of action, not all players are accustomed to the ways of links golf, with stars such as Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler all failing to make the cut.
Saturday’s resumption of matters therefore promises to showcase this weekend’s worthiest competitors. First up to the plate, those lower down in the seeding will look to claw back the scores they’ve perhaps let slip in the opening exchanges.
Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Miguel Angel Jimenez and other leading faces will all be out later on in the day, but there are a few underdogs who’ve managed to impress in the lower order so far, too.
One of the more impressive stars on Day Three so far, Keegan Bradley is yet to put a foot wrong, but has yet to come up against the back nine which has plagued his game in the previous two outings.
In total, Bradley has surrendered a total of nine bogeys to the back stretch at the Open Championship compared to just one, as well as a double bogey, on the first nine holes.
Having birdied Saturday’s fifth and ninth holes with some calm putting, the American has reduced his par to plus-five, but will hold off the celebrations until the round of 18 is finished.
Had Todd Hamilton performed closer to Saturday’s standards on Thursday and Friday, the Illinois native may have found himself competing for a leading spot.
The American has been spotless on his third attempt, birdying two and paring the rest of his holes to register a Saturday score of two-under-par.
All that being well and good, a Friday score of 81 put his opening round of 69 to shame, and as one of the first pairings out this weekend, a score of plus-six just looks like too much to pull back at this stage.
Despite bogeying his first hole of the day, Paul Lawrie recovered to par his next five consecutive holes before adding two birdies and another bogey on the seventh, eighth and ninth holes.
So impressive was Lawrie's play that The Open's official Twitter account even thought to make note:
Things looked up slightly for the Scotsman on the back stretch where Lawrie raked in another three birdies but also two bogies.
Overall, Lawrie’s third day produced far more reason for joy than the previous two, giving the 44-year-old a score of one-under-par for the day, but not improving his overall score of plus-seven by too much.
Four birdies and a single bogey see Richard Sterne head back to the clubhouse for the third time this week, but with his finest round score in hand.
The South African’s play off the fairway was something to be marvelled at, consistently putting him within a chance of birdying.
Now sitting on plus-five overall, a Round Three score of 68 is nothing to be sniffed at and the 31-year-old will have thoughts of his keeping his tournament alive in the back of his mind.
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