ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP)
Padraig Harrington has found his game, and he’ll go into the final round of the British Open with a chance to claim the claret jug for the third time.
The Irishman shot a 7-under 65 in the third round Sunday, his best score ever in golf’s oldest major championship.
Harrington won back-to-back Open titles in 2007-08, and followed up with another major at the 2008 PGA Championship.
He fell on hard times after that, his performance slipping so badly that he lost his PGA Tour card last year.
A victory this year in the Honda Classic signaled the 43-year-old was on the road back. His performance on the Old Course has only confirmed that he’s still got the potential to contend. As Harrington says, “I’ve been out of it for a while, but I felt comfortable out there.”
Harrington might go to the final round with the best attitude of any of the leaders. He says, “I’ve got no issue putting my neck on the line and failing.”
An amateur is leading the British Open.
Paul Dunne, a 22-year-old Irishman, claimed the top spot all to himself with a birdie on the 10th hole Sunday. That took his overall score to 11 under, pushing him ahead of a group that included Jordan Spieth.
Dunne played collegiately at Alabama-Birmingham and went through qualifying to earn his spot in the Open. He plans to turn professional later this summer and try to claim a spot on the European Tour.
For now, he’s the one everyone is chasing at the home of golf. There hasn’t been an amateur winner of the Open since Bobby Jones in 1930.
Jordan Spieth is making his move at the British Open.
The 21-year-old American birdied the first three holes on the back nine Sunday to pull into a tie for the lead with Dustin Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen.
Spieth is the first player since Tiger Woods in 2002 to start the year with wins in the Masters and the U.S. Open. If Spieth can win the British Open, he’ll go to next month’s PGA Championship with a chance to become the first player to win the modern Grand Slam.
Spieth’s only stumble so far came at the ninth, where he missed about a 5-foot putt to save par. He chased after the ball as soon as it left his club, knocked in the bogey, and gave an exaggerated follow-through with his putter. He then flinched angrily on his way off the green.
That must’ve fired him up. Spieth bounced right back with three straight birdies, all of them set up by brilliant iron shots. He’s now at 10 under for the tournament.
Johnson was the 36-hole leader and made par on his first four holes. Oosthuizen claimed a share of the top spot with birdies on three of his first seven holes.
Dustin Johnson has teed off in the British Open, still holding a one-stroke lead.
Johnson is at 10-under 134 through 36 holes, looking to finally break through in a major championship after several close calls. Just last month, he had a putt to win the U.S. Open from 12 feet. Instead, he three-putted and lost to Jordan Spieth by a single stroke.
Johnson is playing in the final group Sunday with England’s Danny Willett.
Several players took a run at Johnson’s score before he got on the Old Course. Australia’s Marc Leishman shot an 8-under 64 that left him one shot off the lead at 207. England’s Eddie Pepperell briefly pulled into a tie with Johnson at 10 under, only to knock his tee shot into the hotel along the 17th hole and take a double-bogey. Pepperell settled for a 66 and was two shots back at 208.
Nine groups ahead of Johnson, Spieth began the day trailing by five shots. The young Texan already has a pair of birdies on his card and is still in the mix to take a run at the Grand Slam, having won the first two majors of the year.
How easy is the Old Course playing during the third round?
Only four of the first 28 players to finish Sunday at the British Open have failed to break par. Marc Leishman of Australia posted the best score of the week so far with an 8-under 64, leaving him just one shot off the lead before Dustin Johnson even teed off.
Leishman is hardly the only one going low with the soft greens and slight wind. Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler both shot 66. David Duval posted a 67 in the first group of the day, his best score in the Open since winning at Lytham in 2001. Amateur Ashley Chesters also shot 67.
Already, there are 17 scores in the 60s, and sure to be a lot more before the day is done unless conditions toughen. Eddie Pepperell is 8 under through 16 holes and tied with Johnson’s 10-under score after 36 holes.
Marc Leishman took a run at the major championship scoring record.
In the end, he had to settle for an 8-under 64 in the third round of the British Open.
Taking advantage of prime scoring conditions, the 31-year-old Australian was poised for a historic score after a birdie at the 15th. But he missed a 10-foot birdie attempt at the 16th, squandered another good birdie look at the tough 17th, and then watched a wedge to the 18th roll back into the Valley of Sin. That left Leishman with another par and one shot away from joining the select list of players who’ve shot 63 in a major.
Leishman is having another strong Open, tying for fifth at Royal Liverpool a year ago. He was scheduled to play in the Masters this past spring but had to withdraw when his wife, Audrey, came down with a life-threatening illness.
She has since recovered, and Leishman says the experience “really, really puts things in perspective.”
The weather has suddenly turned in the British Open.
Heavy rains are pounding the Old Course, prompting the players to hurriedly break out their umbrellas and weatherproof gear.
More showers are predicted late in the afternoon Sunday, which could make things a bit tougher for leader Dustin Johnson. He tees off at 3 p.m. with a one-shot lead over Danny Willett.
Of course, the tournament already has been plagued by inclement weather. There was a suspension of more than three hours Friday because of heavy rains, and fierce winds on Saturday halted play for more than 10 hours.
The delays pushed back the third round until Sunday, setting up the first Monday finish since 1988.
At the moment, there are no worries about another delay.
The course drains well, and this is really just a normal Scottish day.
David Duval has set the tone for going low in the third round of the British Open.
Duval took advantage of the soft greens and barely a hint of wind to shoot a 5-under 67 in the first group out Sunday. That’s his best score in the Open since his closing round 67 to win at Lytham in 2001.
In fact, five of the first six players to finish shot in the 60s.
Out on the course, Australia’s Marc Leishman is 7 under through 13 holes and has climbed into a tie for third. Jim Furyk is 6 under for the day with two holes still to play. At 5 under for the round are England’s Eddie Pepperell and amateur Ashley Chesters.
Of course, the 36-hole leaders have yet to take the course. If conditions don’t toughen up a bit, it could be a real shootout in the afternoon.
Dustin Johnson finished the second round with a one-shot lead on Danny Willett and two ahead of Paul Lawrie.
Johnson and Willett are in the final group, teeing off at 3 p.m.
The Old Course is ripe for low scoring Sunday at the British Open. Just ask David Duval.
One day after wind ripped through St. Andrews and forced a delay of more than 10 hours, conditions could not have been easier — calm, soft from passing showers and a lot of red numbers early on the leaderboard.
Duval had to birdie the 18th hole to make the cut on the number. He went out in 32 on Sunday and already was 6-under par through 15 holes.
English amateur Ashley Chesters had two birdies and an eagle through five holes. Graeme McDowell had seven birdies in 13 holes.
Dustin Johnson had a one-shot lead and won’t start until 3 p.m. If conditions remain unchanged, he could have the final word.
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