The Open Championship is known for being unpredictable from one day to the next. Based on the polarity of the field's scores Saturday, however, it is clear that things can change at the drop of a dime over the course of a single round as well.
There were plenty of low scores being fired early in Saturday's third round, and while some golfers have been able to maintain that form, others have struggled with the wet conditions.
It is very easy for someone to play their way out of contention at the British Open, and there is a no doubt that a few players managed to do precisely that.
With that in mind, here is a look at the current leaderboard along with a breakdown of the golfers who have experienced a major slide Saturday:
After strong showings in the first and second rounds, Francesco Molinari opened the third round within striking distance of leader Rory McIlroy. The Italian star knew that he needed to register another excellent score in order to truly put the pressure on McIlroy, but that seemed to get in Molinari's head to start Saturday's round.
Molinari played the first two rounds six-under par; however, he couldn't get anything going over the first three holes of the third round, according to Golfing World:
Those three quick bogeys couldn't have been good for Molinari's confidence. Add in another bogey on the seventh hole and Molinari essentially played his way out of contention. The par fours have been his Achilles' heel in particular as his first four bogeys came on such holes.
Molinari's fall from grace is pretty surprising since he was sticking with the leaders and usually plays a consistent brand of golf. The Open Championship often doesn't lend itself to consistency, though, and Molinari has learned that the hard way.
Few players looked better than Ryan Moore during Friday's second round as he fired a four-under 68 and nestled into a tie for third. The three-time PGA Tour winner has never come out on top in a major, but there was reason to believe that he might give himself a chance to hoist the prestigious Claret Jug.
Moore has struggled to maintain his form, though, and he dropped several strokes on the front nine. Moore carded a bogey right off the bat and ended up shooting the front nine four-over, which simply isn't good enough to be a major player at the British Open.
Perhaps his struggles shouldn't come as a huge surprise since the Open Championship hasn't always been kind to Moore. According to Mike O'Malley of Golf Digest, even Moore himself discussed his lack of British Open success after his excellent second round:
Moore's comments may have been a self-fulfilling prophecy, as his third-round issues are all too familiar. His poor round is a shame since those near the top of the leaderboard aren't running away with the tournament. Moore was definitely in position to be a factor, but that is no longer in the cards.
Eight-time major champion Tom Watson wasn't expected to do much at this year's Open Championship, but he surprised many by shooting two-over during the first two rounds and making the cut.
It is a hugely impressive accomplishment for a 64-year-old golfer, and it is a treat for golf fans to get to watch Watson this weekend.
Watson probably would have loved to fire a great third-round score, but that hasn't happened. He is near the bottom of the standings in terms of players who made the cut, which is something that hasn't happened to Watson often over the course of his illustrious career.
Things haven't gone Watson's way in the third round, but he certainly knows how to tame links courses.
Watson is a five-time Open Championship winner and explained his continued success at the British Open following Friday's second round, per Beth Ann Nichols of Golfweek.com.
"Links golf is all about distance control," Watson said. "Can you get the ball the right distance? Can you play the chess game? Move your ball to get to this position to get to that position. It's not how far you drive the ball. It's certainly how straight you hit the ball."
Watson's longevity is unprecedented, and there is reason to believe that he can continue to play at a high level for the foreseeable future. Even though things haven't gone his way in the third round, he is impressive nonetheless.
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