Watson leads as Fisher and Westwood head British charge


The Open Championship In Association With Nikon

Tom Watson has defied the odds to hold onto his Open Championship lead with a third round of 71.

The American legend went out in 36 and had a mini-wobble half-way though the inward nine with bogeys at 12 and 15 but recovered superbly with birdies at 16 and 17 to claim the outright lead.

Watson clearly believes he can win. His game plan is going accoding to plan. "May be tomorrow I can go out there and complete the game plan and do what I think I have to do to win the tournament.

"I feel good about what I did today and, who knows, it might happen."

England's Ross Fisher holds a share of second on -3 as he also fired two birdies in his final three holes.

Playing in the penultimate pairing, the 28-year-old kept British hopes alive with a cracking level par round of 70.

Fisher, who came 5th in this year's US Open, will play alongside Westwood tomorrow...provided his wife Jo doesn't give birth to their first child!

"No news is good news," said Fisher "and hopefully it will stay that way. Hopefully Jo won't get too excited watching me play tomorrow and can hang on for another day.

"Playing with Lee should be great fun and hopefully we can have a bit of banter and throw a few birdies at each other."

Australian Matthew Goggin, who only qualified for the Open as an alternate last week, shot an impressive 69 to back up his opening 66 and yesterday's 72 to share second.

The Aussie world number 58 notched three birdies and two bogeys to be one of just five players to shoot under par on Saturday.

As well as playing some wonderful golf, he also entertained the crowd by running from the fairway to mark his ball that was persilously close to the water on the 16th green.

Westwood kept in the hunt for his first major by finishing tied with Retief Goosen on -2 despite a bogey on 18.

Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose and Chris Wood will all still be dreaming of lifting the Claret Jug as they go into Sunday on +2.

American duo Jim Furyk and Stewart Cink came under the radar today but are right in the mix on -1 heading into the final round.

In fact, this is still a truly open Open with 25 players within six shots of the lead. With reasonably dry conditions but gusting winds forecast for tomorrow, it promises to be an engrossing and dramatic finale to the 138th Open Championship.

But there'll be no Open hat-trick for Padraig Harrington who is way down the field on a disappointing +9.

Most eyes though will focus on 59-year-old Watson who stands just 18 holes from an Open fairytale.

Ross Fisher described Watson's performances this week as "incredible" and a "Cinderella story." The world's golfing press - and most golf fans - are hoping that he will go to the ball and chalk-up Open win no. 6 tomorrow...