Moving day at The Open delivered everything we hoped for and more. Defending champion Jordan Spieth stormed to the front, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy put themselves within touching distance of the leaders and the weather even managed to stay dry.
But if you did miss any of the action, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered. You can click here for a full roundup or simply stay where you are to gorge on the biggest talking points and a bunch of facts and figures that would make Stephen Fry giddy with excitement.
1. Have you noticed something different about Jordan Spieth yet? And no, we’re not talking about his ability to hole putts again. We’re referring to his new buzzcut, which cost him just nine quid at a local barbers in Carnoustie. He tipped £11 because, well, he’s a nice guy, isn’t he? Either that or his wallet was being weighed down by the $2 million he’s earned in prize money this year.
2. Justin Rose didn’t just card his best 18-hole total in 58 Major appearances. He also tied the lowest-ever score (64) at Carnoustie in Open Championship history (Steve Stricker and Richard Green, 2007). Think that’s impressive? He’s the only player this week to birdie the 18th three days in a row. That means he’s taken four strokes less than Dustin Johnson managed across two rounds.
3. Tommy Fleetwood can still claim to be the course record holder at Carnoustie, but he’s no longer the only player to post a bogey-free round this week. There were 10 on day three as the likes of Rose, Francesco Molinari and Asian trio Yusaku Miyazato, Byeong Hun An and Haotong Li took advantage of the benign conditions. Car-nasty? Try Car-nicety!
4. Hogan’s Alley looked like it had turned into a breeding ground for eagles, with six being recorded on day one. Since then, it’s given up just one more and even then Zach Johnson had to hole a monster putt. Together, the 6th and 14th have delivered a combined 35 of 37 eagles all week. The others have come on the opening hole, courtesy of Jordan Spieth who drove the green, and on the 18th when Zander Lombard holed out from the fairway (both during the third round).
5. Francesco Molinari, hot off two wins and two runner-ups in his last five starts, carded his lowest round in a Major with a six-under-par, 65. To put things into perspective, he’s now posted a 67 or better in eight of his last 11 rounds. Consider him a dead cert for the Ryder Cup.
6. Pat Perez is nothing if not honest. Asked for a quick interview in the mixed zone after ending his second round one off the lead, he told TG (and other journalists): “I don’t want to talk to you guys. I just don’t, if you want me to be honest.” To his credit, he did so anyway but was nowhere to be seen after completing his third round. A three-over-par, 75, might have had something to do with it.
Did you know? Only one player over the last century has won The Open after being outside the top 10 heading into Sunday. Bad news for fans of Perez and Justin Rose.
7. Lost amid the brilliance of Tiger, Molinari and Spieth was the rollercoaster back nine of Fleetwood. Sandwiched between pars on 10 and 18 was a birdie, double bogey, bogey, birdie, birdie, bogey, birdie. It added up to a round of 71, which left Fleetwood exactly where he started the day on five-under-par.
8. While everyone was enjoying a lie-in, Malaysia’s Gavin Green had the unenviable honour of going out on his lonesome at 9.15am to begin the third round. That honour falls to Beau Hossler on Sunday, who will be joined by Carnoustie golf pro Kier McNicoll acting as his marker. As far as job perks go, that’s a nice one to have.
Did you know? Rickie Fowler took a triple-bogey eight on the 6th, and then went and eagled the par-5 14th.
9. If you haven’t realised it yet, the third round played a lot easier than the previous two. In fact, 11 holes played under par, including six of the first seven. The par-4 12th ranked as the hardest hole for the second day running, giving up just one birdie and playing more than half a shot over par.
Hole-by-hole averages (third round)
10. Never in the history of the game has there been successful US Open and Open Championship defences in the same year. Brook Koepka has already achieved the first part; over to you Jordan Spieth…
Did you know? Sunday will be the first time this year Spieth has started a final round within six shots of the lead. He does, however, lead the PGA Tour fourth round scoring average.
The final word goes to… Eddie Pepperell and his Twitter exchange with Thomas Pieters and Ian Poulter at the expense of Tyrrell Hatton.