Friday 24 November 2017

Golf: Weather helps early Open starters

Rickie Fowler hit four birdies in his first 10 holes at the Open
Rickie Fowler hit four birdies in his first 10 holes at the Open

Perfect conditions have greeted the early starters in the third round of the Open Championship at Royal Lytham, with Tom Watson and Lee Westwood the star pairing hoping to take advantage.

Five-time Open winner Watson and world number three Westwood both made the cut right on the mark of 143, three over par, and were in the second group out at 8:20am.

But despite teeing off fully seven hours before the final group, the prospect of playing with 62-year-old Watson - who on Friday extended his own record of being the oldest player to make the cut in the Open - had Westwood in a good mood.

"Well if it wasn't result enough to make the cut! I get a game with Tom Watson in the morning too!" Westwood wrote on his Twitter page last night.

The Ryder Cup star admitted his chances of winning on Sunday were "remote", and there was certainly no early charge with pars at the first two holes followed by a bogey on the third after finding a fairway bunker off the tee.

Watson had also dropped a shot on the second after a visit to one of Lytham's 206 bunkers and it fell to fellow American Rickie Fowler to make the first birdie of the day from 35ft on the second.

Brandt Snedeker held a one-shot lead over Adam Scott after equalling the lowest halfway total in Open history with rounds of 66 and 64, while Tiger Woods was four off the lead after holing a bunker shot for birdie on the 18th on Friday.

Fowler's birdie on the seventh was his 11th of the week, one more than the tournament leader, but while Snedeker had also amazingly not carded a single bogey, Fowler was soon dropping more shots.

After hitting his approach to the eighth over the green, Fowler chipped his third past the flag and off the green at the front, and then only just found the putting surface with his fourth shot. The resulting double-bogey six dropped him back to two over for the tournament.

Some tough pin positions were keeping the scoring in check, with Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington each making par on the first to remain alongside Fowler on two over.

Press Association

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