Follow all the action live from the third round as The Open 2021 continues at Royal St George’s.
Louis Oosthuizen takes a two-shot lead into the third round after breaking the Open scoring record at the halfway stage with rounds of 64 and 65, but a bunched field remains in close pursuit. That pack is led by Collin Morikawa, who posted a stunning 64 himself on Friday, while 2017 champion Jordan Spieth is one further back as he aims to win his fifth major. Several other high-profile players made big moves on Friday, too, with world No 1 Dustin Johnson starting only four shots back, while Brooks Koepka’s race is hardly run either, with six shots separating him from the top of the leaderboard.
Andy Sullivan and Paul Casey remain in contention, even if the odds of an end to England’s 52-year wait for a winner on home soil seems likely to continue. Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy are among the earliest starters after disappointing performances. The weather over Sandwich is gloriously sunny and it promises to be another day of low scoring. Follow all the action live below:
THE OPEN 2021: RAHM NOT GIVING UP ON CHAMPIONSHIP
John Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen and Shane Lowry formed a magical grouping on Friday as the trio scorched the Royal St George’s course with a stunning display of low scoring.
For the Spaniard, his round of 64 to move to -5 under overall reinvigorated his belief that he can win the Claret Jug this week.
“There is always a chance,” Rahm said.
“I think I give myself a chance to catch up by Sunday. But we will see tomorrow. Tomorrow is the most important day obviously right now. If I can put another solid round like I did today, post a good number, and hope that the leaders don’t go too low, I think that’s the job.
“So all I can control is what I can do, and, yes, I have the confidence that I can go low on a weekend to win the tournament. I’m hoping I don’t have to do anything extravagant, but if it needs to be done, I’ll try and I have the confidence I can do it.”
THE OPEN 2021: MCILROY BOUNCES BACK WITH ANOTHER BIRDIE
Great response from McIlroy. His tee shot at the par-three 6th was pin-high and landed on the top shelf of the green, around seven or eight feet from the hole. The birdie putt was confident and rolled straight into the middle of the cup, leading to huge roars from the bank of fans on the edge of the green. An important birdie to pick up, with the favourable par-five 7th to come.
THE OPEN 2021: MCILROY DOWN TO -1
McIlroy slips back to -1 after picking up his first bogey of the day at the 5th. He missed the green with his approach shot, leading to a lengthy birdie putt from the fringes. McIlroy’s effort crested the slope of the green but was hit with too much pace and tumbled off the other side, leaving him with a difficult par putt. It was too much work to do and the Northern Irishman comes away with a bogey five ahead of the par-three 6th.
Robert McIntyre has made back-to-back birdies at 7 and 8 to move to -1. At -2 for the day, the Scot has the best score on the course right now after McIlroy’s bogey at the 5th.
THE OPEN 2021: MCILROY MOVES TO -2
What a putt! McIlroy sinks a 20+ footer to make birdie at the par-four 4th and move to -2 overall. His putter looks to heating up at this early stage, following those clutch putts on the 1st and 2nd. He was also not too far away from sinking a length birdie putt on the par-three 3rd.
THE OPEN 2021: SPIETH ‘IN A GOOD POSITION’ DESPITE FRUSTRATIONS
Jordan Spieth is firmly in contention three shots behind leader Louis Oosthuizen, but the American was grateful to hang on to his -8 score over the closing holes of his second round.
Spieth was -4 for his round through 12 holes but went +1 through to 18, where he saved par with a testing putt on the final hole.
“Those last six holes were kind of frustrating and I felt, I don’t know, I think I need to bring more food on the golf course tomorrow,” the 2017 Open champion said.
“I got really just in a weird head space, like fatigued there on the 13th green as we were waiting and hitting putts. I just didn’t stay focused like I was early in the round. I wasn’t very sharp but it’s an easy solution for tomorrow.
“The finish on 18 probably securing a second to last group on a Saturday is a good position to be in, although it was an afternoon where I was eyeing a number lower than what I finished at.”
THE OPEN 2021: PERFECT START FOR MCILROY
There you go! McIlroy gets up and running with a birdie at the first. After finding the middle of the green with his approach, his birdie putt is perfectly judged, slowing down just before it dropped into the cup. It is greeted by a roar from the crowd as the Northern Irishman gets to -1.
On the second, he faces a testing par putt from eight or so feet, but he finds the hole to avoid a bogey that would have erased that early momentum.
THE OPEN 2021: RORY MCILROY UNDERWAY ON DAY THREE
Rory McIlroy gets his third round underway below another glorious day of sunshine at Royal St George’s. The Northern Irishman, at even par and 11 shots off the pace, will have to go on the attack today, and even then his efforts are unlikely to be enough to trouble the leading contenders.
He hits his drive straight down the middle of the first fairway and sets off alongside Richard Bland.
THE OPEN 2021: THOMSON’S HOLE IN ONE
The biggest roar yesterday wasn’t reserved for Louis Oosthuizen or Rory McIlroy. Instead, it came at the 16th when Jonathan Thomson’s tee-shot found the hole much to the delight of the huge grandstand behind the green. The Englishman, ranked No 899 in the world, finished his round at -2 and begins the day in a tie for 31st.
THE OPEN 2021: DECHAMBEAU OUT EARLY
Bryson DeChambeau started in just the second group of the day this morning. The divisive American provoked yet more controversy after a childish outburst over the quality of his driver on Thursday, when he claimed he’s “living on a razor’s edge”. That much was certainly true when it came to the cut line last night, with DeChambeau’s score of +1 the worst permitted into the weekend.
THE OPEN 2021: MORIKAWA SURGES INTO CONTENTION
The finest round yesterday, though, no doubt belonged to Collin Morikawa. The 2020 PGA champion produced a breathtaking display of ball-striking, attacking every pin from the centre of the fairway and, at one stage, seemed destined to shatter the course record.
“I always try and fit my game into ‘how do I play my best golf?’, and I feel like I can win if I stick to what I’ve been doing, stick to my approach shots, stick to those eight-irons, nine-irons, seven-irons, because that’s my bread and butter,” he said. “That’s what I love to do. When I’m in the middle of the fairway, I feel like I can hit it just as close as some guys hit their wedges, especially when I’m on like the first two days.”
Collin Morikawa surges into Open contention with supreme precision
The American threatened the course record as he stormed into the lead on Friday morning
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