Tiger Woods will have to come from behind to capture major No. 15 at the 2013 British Open. Playing partner Lee Westwood was able to outshine the American superstar during the third round and will take a two-shot lead into the final day.
Here's the scene Lee Westwood 3 under, Tiger Woods 1 under, Hunter Mahan 1 under. TW has never won a major when not leading after 54 holes.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) July 20, 2013
Woods carded a one-over 72 to leave him at one-under through three rounds. A late bogey cost him a spot in Sunday's final group. Westwood was two shots better, posting a one-under 70 to leave himself at three-under. He will play with Hunter Mahan (-1) tomorrow.
Let's recap Woods' day playing alongside Westwood at the 2013 Open Championship.
Round 3 Scorecard
All scoring information courtesy of the major championships' official site.
Day 3 Recap
Woods began his round with a perfect tee shot. A lot has been made throughout the week about his lack of driver use, but there's been no reason to change his approach. Staying in the fairway is crucial, and he's sacrificing distance for accuracy with irons.
His approach shot on the first rolled farther than he hoped. Conditions began to dry out just like they did on each of the first two days, which made it tough to stop the ball on a dime. The result was a two-putt par, an acceptable start to the day.
After another good tee shot at No. 2, Woods was extremely disappointed with his approach that left him with a long-range putt for birdie. Like so many times in the past on the weekend at a major, he made up for it with the putter to get to three under par.
A dropped shot by Miguel Angel Jimenez allowed Woods to grab the solo lead for the first time while playing the third hole. He saved par to hold that edge heading to the fourth.
Tiger Woods now sole leader at @The_Open. All 14 of his major wins came when holding at least share of 54-hole lead (11 outright).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 20, 2013
His first solo lead was short-lived, however, as he found the bunker off the tee on the par-three fourth and played a lackluster shot out of the sand. It led to his first dropped shot of the round.
Westwood turned the tide in his favor at the fifth. With Woods in birdie range, Westwood nailed a terrific eagle putt from off the green to take the lead.
Westwood now in lead after rolling in eagle putt from off the green at No. 5. No English winner of #The Open since Faldo in '92— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) July 20, 2013
After seeing that putt fall, Woods missed his birdie putt and lost the momentum he had gained early.
He parred the sixth, but things continued to trend in the wrong direction at No. 7. Once again, it was a par-three hole that gave Woods trouble, as his tee shot ran through the green. His chip came up short, and he could only manage a bogey.
Add in a Westwood birdie, and it was another two-shot swing for the Englishman.
Two-shot swing. Tiger bogey at 7 and Westwood with a 7-foot birdie putt. Westy opens 3-shot lead on Tiger and 4 others. Nice work @IBFinchy.— Dave Shedloski (@DaveShedloski) July 20, 2013
Muirfield wasn't ready to let anybody run away with the Claret Jug, however.
Westwood, who had played nearly flawless golf through the first seven holes, proceeded to post back-to-back bogeys. Woods took advantage with a birdie on the ninth, eliminating the three-stroke edge in just two holes.
So, just like when the day began, the duo was tied at two-under par—only this time, they were tied for the lead.
Woods/Westwood tied for lead at -2 heading to back 9. Tiger has played back nine in -3 this week, best in the field.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) July 20, 2013
As Woods and Westwood were trading pars during the early portion of the back nine, Mahan used a late surge to climb the leaderboard. He birdied two of the last four holes to tie the low round of the day and grab the clubhouse lead at one-under par.
The coinciding par streaks came to an end at No. 14.
Westwood delivered an extraordinary approach shot that rolled within a couple feet of the cup. Woods was able to save par from the greenside bunker thanks to a sand shot he nearly holed. But the No. 12 player in the world converted his birdie putt to regain a one-stroke lead.
Following twin pars on the 15th, they arrived to the very difficult par-three 16th. Westwood's tee shot went left into the deep rough while the 14-time major champion found the middle of the green.
After Westwood failed to get his chip on the green, the only remaining question was how many strokes Woods could gain. The answer was one. Woods narrowly missed his birdie putt while Westwood knocked in a mid-range bogey putt to leave them tied for the lead at two-under par.
The final two-stroke swing of the afternoon came on the par-five 17th—and it was Westwood who bounced back to pull it off.
Woods' second shot was a complete disaster, finding the fairway bunker. His only option was to chop it out and hope for par. He couldn't even manage that, as his approach shot was average at best, forcing him to accept a two-putt bogey.
Westwood birdied to move back to three-under par and two shots clear of the field.
Westwood takes 2 shot lead with birdie at 17. #TheOpen— Alistair Tait (@GolfweekTait) July 20, 2013
Both players finished with pars after their long birdie putts failed to find the cup at 18. It completed a solid trip around Muirfield for each, although Woods' struggles on No. 17 were a definite setback. He will play with Adam Scott on Sunday.
Westwood was slightly better in the third round. His reward is the Open Championship lead with 18 holes to play.