Day 3 of this year's Scottish Open didn't provide much change atop the leaderboard, as Daniel Brooks remains in the catbird seat at 12 under, though there remains plenty of drama with just 18 holes to play with nine players within four shots of the lead.
Brooks started the day in the lead at 11 under, but he took a long time to find a groove and opened the door for the rest of the field to catch him. Many were able to do just that, as five players in the top 10 finished the third round at least four-under par.
Here's the top of the 2015 Scottish Open leaderboard through 54 holes:
|2015 Scottish Open Leaderboard Through Round 3|
|Pos.||Player||Round 3 Score||Overall|
|1||Daniel Brooks||-1 (69)||-12|
|2||Raphael Jacquelin||-6 (64)||-11|
|T3||Rickie Fowler||-4 (66)||-10|
|T3||Joost Luiten||-4 (66)||-10|
|T3||Tommy Fleetwood||-3 (67)||-10|
|T6||Eddie Pepperell||-5 (65)||-9|
|T6||Russell Knox||-4 (66)||-9|
|T6||Matt Kuchar||-3 (67)||-9|
|T9||Miguel Angel Jimenez||-2 (68)||-8|
|T9||Ryan Palmer||E (70)||-8|
Raphael Jacquelin has been trying to figure out how to get his mojo back on the course for more than two years. That's how long it has been since the 41-year-old last won on any tour—the Open de Espana in April 2013.
The France native wasn't on the radar coming into Saturday, starting 23rd at five under. He would surpass that 36-hole score on Saturday, posting the low round of the day with a six-under 64.
Jacquelin briefly held a two-shot lead following this long birdie putt, via the European Tour on Twitter:
That lead would eventually dwindle once Brooks rebounded following a double-bogey on the first hole. The young Englishman had back-to-back birdies on No. 8 and No. 9 to make the turn with some momentum, though he gave a shot back on the 10th hole with a bogey.
Brooks would finally get under par on the 16th hole with a birdie and finished with two solid pars to eke out a one shot lead.
Even as Brooks struggled for a long time to maintain par, he fared better overall than Justin Rose. The world's seventh-ranked player started the day three shots behind the lead but would finish three shots worse when the third round ended thanks to a 72 that dropped him to six under.
Rose had been playing clean golf through 36 holes, with just two bogeys to go with his 10 birdies. Those two bogeys were immediately followed by birdies on the next hole, so even his mistakes never derailed a round.
Rich Lerner of the Golf Channel had high praise for Rose on Twitter coming into the third round:
At least, that was the case for Rose until Saturday. The back nine was especially problematic for the former U.S. Open champion. Four of his five bogeys came after making the turn.
After his round on Friday, via BBC Sport, Rose seemed to acknowledge that he was getting a lot of mistakes.
"There's still a couple of loose shots, which I'm getting away with on this course that, on some other courses, you might not get away with," Rose said. "Definitely some room for improvement, but my mindset feels good right now, I feel calm, I feel patient."
That patience had to be tested for Rose as some of those shots stopped going where he wanted them to. He has likely shot himself out of contention for the Scottish Open, barring a fantastic round on Sunday and a lot of help from everyone ahead of him.
Another marquee player taking part in this event prior to next week's British Open is Phil Mickelson, who has really never been in contention but continues to play well. He's nine shots off the pace at three-under par following Saturday's 70.
Yet this isn't reason to despair for Lefty or his fans, as this event was designed to get him back in shape following his disappointing turn at the U.S. Open. He's had strong moments in major tournaments this year, including a 69 after round one at the Open, so St. Andrews could get him over the hump.
Even without Rose and Mickelson in the mix, Sunday is shaping up to be a fantastic day of golf at the Scottish Open. Brooks continues to get tested by the field, yet he always manages to come out the other side unscathed.
Jacquelin does have momentum after posting the lowest score of any player in the field, while many others were at least two shots under par. There figures to be more movement during the final 18 holes than the third round provided.