Another round, another stellar performance by Rory McIlroy at the 2014 British Open.
The two-time major winner is in search of his third and heads into Sunday with a six-stroke lead at Royal Liverpool. After blowing through the field in the first two rounds, McIlroy needed a late surge to retain it on Saturday.
Here's a look at the leaderboard after three rounds of action:
It wasn't all easy for McIlroy, as several contenders emerged to make the race tight at the end on Saturday. Rickie Fowler charged to the top of the leaderboard at one point, but he saw it slip through his grasp as McIlroy secured two eagles on the final three holes.
Before the final day gets underway, let's take a look at the tee times, viewing information and predictions for Sunday's action.
2014 British Open Final Round Information
When: Sunday, July 20
Where: Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England
Watch: ESPN (Coverage starts at 6 a.m. ET)
Live Stream: WatchESPN
|Group||Players||Start Time (ET)|
|1||Charley Hoffman; Billy Hurley III||3:35 a.m.|
|2||Ryan Palmer; Jamie McLeary||3:45 a.m.|
|3||Tom Watson; John Senden||3:55 a.m.|
|4||Brendon Todd; Jason Day||4:05 a.m.|
|5||Koumei Oda; Rhein Gibson||4:15 a.m.|
|6||Brooks Koepka; Thorbjorn Olesen||4:25 a.m.|
|7||Stewart Cink; Matt Every||4:35 a.m.|
|8||Tiger Woods; Jason Dufner||4:45 a.m.|
|9||Gregory Bourdy; Matt Kuchar||5 a.m.|
|10||Chris Wood; Paul Casey||5:10 a.m.|
|11||Henrik Stenson; Thomas Bjorn||5:20 a.m.|
|12||Chris Rodgers; Martin Kaymer||5:30 a.m.|
|13||Matt Jones; Brandt Snedeker||5:40 a.m.|
|14||Zach Johnson; Luke Donald||5:50 a.m.|
|15||Hideki Matsuyama; D.A. Points||6 a.m.|
|16||Gary Woodland; Thongchai Jaidee||6:10 a.m.|
|17||Hunter Mahan; Kevin Stadler||6:25 a.m.|
|18||Kevin Na; Bill Haas||6:35 a.m.|
|19||Phil Mickelson; Angel Cabrera||6:45 a.m.|
|20||Kevin Streelman; Louis Oosthuizen||6:55 a.m.|
|21||David Hearn; Ben Martin||7:05 a.m.|
|22||Francesco Molinari; George Coetzee||7:15 a.m.|
|23||Shane Lowry; Kristoffer Broberg||7:25 a.m.|
|24||Keegan Bradley; Chris Kirk||7:35 a.m.|
|25||Brian Harman; Jordan Spieth||7:50 a.m.|
|26||David Howell; Stephen Gallacher||8 a.m.|
|27||Byeong-Hun An; Branden Grace||8:10 a.m.|
|28||Ryan Moore; Marc Warren||8:20 a.m.|
|29||Jimmy Walker; Marc Leishman||8:30 a.m.|
|30||Justin Rose; Graeme McDowell||8:40 a.m.|
|31||Darren Clarke; Charl Schwartzel||8:50 a.m.|
|32||Jim Furyk; Robert Karlsson||9 a.m.|
|33||Adam Scott; Matteo Manassero||9:10 a.m.|
|34||Edoardo Molinari; Victor Dubuisson||9:20 a.m.|
|35||Dustin Johnson; Sergio Garcia||9:30 a.m.|
|36||Rickie Fowler; Rory McIlroy||9:40 a.m.|
McIlroy Clinches 1st British Open Title
Following a year in which he didn't win a major tournament, McIlroy made his intentions clear heading into the 2014 season, per BBC.
"I feel like I am very close - I'm confident with my game and confident where it's going," McIlroy said at the beginning of 2014. "I won a major in 2011 and 2012 but not in 2013, so I'll try to make up for that with two this year."
He didn't win the Masters and failed to clinch the U.S. Open. Needless to say, the Northern Irish player had plenty riding on taking the title at Royal Liverpool to make good on his word.
So far, so good.
McIlroy comes into Sunday with a six-stroke lead and a chance to claim his third major win at the age of 25. That victory would also net his father, Gerry McIlroy, quite a large sum of money as well, per Andrew Cotter of BBC:
So just to confirm - 10 yrs ago Gerry McIlroy & three friends put £400 at 500-1 on 15 year-old Rory to win The Open before he turned 26.— Andrew Cotter (@MrAndrewCotter) July 19, 2014
Not only will he make his father a proud—and wealthier—man, but he also has a chance to make history with his play on Sunday. Justin Ray of the Golf Channel notes what McIlroy could accomplish during the final round:
If Rory McIlroy shoots 68 or better tomorrow, he becomes 1st player in major championship history to finish 20-under par or better.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) July 19, 2014
With his eye on accomplishing the goal of two majors, Sunday is an important day for McIlroy in several different ways. As he looks to regain the dominance he once had over the sport as the world No. 1, look for McIlroy to cruise yet again atop the leaderboard in the fourth round.
Tiger Woods Returns to Form in Final Round
I'm not going to lie, this title took a little while to figure out. When saying Tiger Woods "returns to form," is it the form he had in 2008 when he won his 14th title or the six years since when he's barely sniffed at a major title?
In this case, we'll go with the dominance he showed when wearing the red shirt every Sunday to rip the hearts out of every other player. The fourth round will see Woods paired up with Jason Dufner—two players who certainly need to rebound from poor showings thus far.
Reid Cherner of USA Today offers a look at what has caused many of the issues for Woods:
If Tiger Woods is asked how the course at Royal Liverpool could be improved he might suggest plowing over the second hole.
In three rounds at this year's British Open Woods bogeyed No. 2 on Thursday and Friday and double-bogeyed it Saturday.
Woods is currently 19 shots behind McIlroy and well out of contention for his 15th major title. But with the PGA Championship still to be played later this year, Woods will regain some confidence on Sunday without any pressure placed on him.
OK, it's hard to say that no pressure will be placed on Woods, but he's certainly out of the limelight with McIlroy at the top of the leaderboard. Expect Woods to return to respectability with a good final round on Sunday.
Justin Rose Makes Charge for Top-5 Finish
Who will win The Open?
Tied for 12th and 11 shots off the lead, Justin Rose might not be considered a true contender anymore for the Claret Jug.
But the No. 3 player in the world still has a shot to finish respectably in the final round, something he set out to accomplish at the start of the week. Rose spoke about his hope coming into Royal Liverpool and where he stands before the final day, per Phil Cartwright of BBC.
"I had my goal to put in my best Open performance and I'm doing that." Rose said. "So far I'm achieving what I set out to do. If I can play as well tomorrow and find some luck on the greens, you never know."
Though the 2013 U.S. Open winner likely won't claim his second major victory on Sunday, he has a chance to complete that goal. With a chance to secure his sixth top-10 finish this season, look for Rose to put together a strong closing round at Hoylake.
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