2013 Open, Round 3: Penalties, But Less Penalizing
By Torleif Sorenson on 7/20/13
After two days of wickedly fast terrain, R&A officials slowed down the course for Saturday, which resulted in 12 players shooting better than par during the third round of the 142nd Open Championship. So it was a little less frustrating for everyone.

Well, almost everyone...

Slow play penalty!

On Saturday, the rules officials of the R&A were not screwing around; they put Hideki Matsuyama's group on the clock at the 15th hole, since they were 15 minutes out of position. He took one minute, 12 seconds over a putt at the 15th green, then took two minutes 12 seconds over his second shot at 17. Bam — his third-round 71 became a 72, which nudged him just off the first page of the leaderboard.

Later on Saturday, Scotland's own Martin Laird incurred a one-stroke penalty of his own at the 10th hole for failing to declare to his playing partner his intention to lift a ball to identify it (Rule 12-2). That turned a painful bogey 5 into a double-bogey six. It didn't get any better for the Scotsman; he bogeyed 16 and then took a painful double-bogey 7 at the par-5 17th. His resulting 81 knocked him out of contention, but at least Laird shot 70-71 to make the 36-hole cut in the first place.


Spain's Sergio Garcia made the weekend by going 75-73. Saturday is typically referred to as "Moving Day" on tour, and Garcia made the most of it. He offset bogeys at the cruel 8th hole and at the 11th and 13th by taking birdies from Muirfield at 2, 6, 10, 12, and, satisfyingly, at the closing hole.
"Today was a little better. I finally felt I knew what I was doing out there. It wasn't easy. It was definitely breezier than it was yesterday but I was able to hit some good shots and trust my swing a little bit more.

"I can't tell you what will happen this afternoon, but I needed to do something like that to give myself a slight chance."
That he did. Garcia joined Hunter Mahan and South African Rochard Sterne for the low round of the day. The Spaniard has seven top-10 finishes in the Open Championship, including a solo 2nd in 2007.

Summer of 69

Not far behind Mahan, Garcia, and Sterne, Shingo Katayama of Japan (notable for his strange on-course cowboy-style lids) and Brandt Snedeker of Nashville (notable for winning three times in the last two years) shot 69. For Katayama, that moved him from +8 to +6 for the championship, so he's not in contention. Snedeker moved to within a whisker of the front page of the leaderboard at 216 (+3). After bogeying two of the first four holes, Snedeker snatched birdies at 5 and 6, then nailed an eagle at the par-5 9th.

Enter Sandman

Miguel Angel Jimenez may have shot 77 on Saturday, but he hit what could be one of the greatest bunker shots in Open Championship history. This is fiendishly tough:

Hunter in the hunt

The aforementioned Hunter Mahan notched a 68 in part by avoiding too many bogeys. Muirfield cut two out of Mahan on Saturday at 4 and 13. But by the 13th, Mahan had already birdied the par-4 first and second holes, birdied the par-5 ninth, then took two more at 15 and 17. Building upon a solid amateur and college career, Mahan's five PGA Tour victories include two WGC victories — a medal play at Firestone in 2010 and the Match Play last year in Tucson. After a T-4 at Merion, Mahan absolutely is within reach of his first major championship — and has what is required to win.

Tiger tracker

Tiger Woods couldn't move much on Saturday. An long-and-impressive putt for birdie at 2 was offset back by two difficult bunker shots into the wind at 4 and 9. Woods bogeyed the 4th, but birdied 9. At 17, Woods hit his approach with too much spin, landing short of the green in a pot bunker and resulting in a bogey.

Still, Woods is tied for second with the aforementioned Hunter Mahan, two shots behind the leader.

The chase group

The current Masters champion, Adam Scott, is alone at level par following a two-bogey, three birdie 70. The foursome at +1 (four back of the lead) includes Ryan Moore, two-time major champion Angel Cabrera, 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson, and Sweden's Henrik Stenson, who has not contended at a major since the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews. Phil Mickelson and Francesco Molinari round out the top page of the leaderboard at +2.

The leader

40-year-old Lee Westwood is sleeping on the solo 54-hole, two-shot lead at the Open Championship. Is this his time?

Statistically, perhaps it should be. Not only has he won 39 tournaments worldwide, but Westwood has seven top-3 finishes in the major championships since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. ESPN notes that this is the most without a major championship victory since 1934. Also in his favor is that he has played well (and is quite comfortable!) when paired with Tiger Woods.

On Saturday, Westwood holed a monstrously long putt from off the green at 5 for eagle. He needed that, since Muirfield carved two consecutive bogeys out of Westwood at 8 and 9. He curled a lovely approach shot to within three feet at 14 for a resulting birdie, then at nailed a 20-foot putt at 16 to save bogey after hitting into a horrendous lie. That must have felt like a par, because Westwood carried forward that momentum when he sank a birdie at the very next hole.

The weather

Sunday will start off cloudy, get sunnier by 4:00 p.m. local time, then the clouds roll back in at dinner-time. 13 to 15 m.p.h. winds may be a factor, however. Temperatures will be quite pleasant at 16° to 18°C (61° to 65°F).

The forecast

Elsewhere here on oobgolf, Nathan has predicted a Tiger Woods victory. This writer does not wish to disagree, but looking at the landscape and leaderboard after 54 holes, I say it will be Lee Westwood in a popular victory over Woods and Mahan.

I say Tiger roars at Oak Hill to win the PGA Championship, barring further physical injury.


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[ comments ]
slimpks1850 says:
Insanely entertaining tourney to this point. Hopefully the final round does not Oosthu... I mean disappoint.

WTF Louie?
[ post comment ]
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