Australian Adam Scott continued his form from the opening two rounds to move into a commanding lead going into the final round at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s club.
His 68 coupled with over-night leader Brandt Snedeker’s 73 meant a reversal in positions, with the Americans one shot lead now a four shot deficit at -7. Sharing second is Graeme McDowell after a round of five birdies saw him post a score of 67. Lurking one shot behind is fourteen time Major winner Tiger Woods. An up and down round where he three bogeys and three birdies was enough to keep him at -6.
Scott’s best finish in a major saw him finish second at last year’s Masters, though he will have no shortage of expertise to call on from his caddy. Steve Williams was on the bag for Wood’s victories in St. Andrews in 2000 and 2005 and at Hoylake in 2006. It will be unchartered waters for Scott as in 45 majors he has missed the cut more often than he has featured in the top ten.
His quest for the Claret Jug was helped by Snedeker’s ill-timed loss of form. Having failed to drop a single shot in the opening two days, he picked up six bogeys. At the fifth he picked up his first and over the following six holes he added four more. He did not throw in the towel and two birdies in the last three, including a 12 footer on the last, still leaves the American in contention today. “I still have a chance,” Snedeker said. “This course is not playing easy. He will tee off with Tiger Woods after he carded a round of 70. Five strokes behind Scott, he will need to improve his putting to have any chance of a fourth Open success. On holes 14 and 16 he missed chances for birdies, while on the 15th he missed a 6 foot par putt.
Graeme McDowell was one of a few players to improve on his score from the second round, his 67 matching also his opening days score. The Portrush man did not drop a shot on the back nine and added three birdies to remain very much in contention. Also in the frame are Zach Johnson and Ernie Els. Both are on -5 after rounds of 66 and 68 respectively.
Anirbahn Lahiri gave the crowd plenty to cheer about on the ninth hole with the first hole in one of the 2012 tournament. “It was looking a little right of the hole, but it got a really, really friendly bounce. When it goes in, everybody goes wild. I go wild. It was fantastic,” said Lahiri, who shot a 70 to remain at par for the tournament. History was made after Jeev Milkha Singhboth made the cut, the first time two Indians are playing together in the final round at a major championship.