Saturday, July 20, 2013

British Open, Day 3 Wrap-Up

Today was dominated by a duel between Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods.  Playing in the same group, battling for the lead most of the day, followed by huge crowds, these two great players put on a real show.  I kept thinking it was like a Ryder Cup match -- and I was right, because down the stretch Westwood holed some amazing putts, while Tiger had a late bogey on 17 after his second shot bounced into a bunker.  At that point, Woods and Westwood were tied.  But Westwood birdied 17 -- and that birdie, along with Tiger's bogey, gave the Englishman a two-shot lead.

Because Muirfield is playing so hard, I just don't see anyone putting up a low round tomorrow and staging a big comeback.  Tiger is playing well from tee to green, but he just can't make enough putts to put up a low score.  So the question is whether Westwood will blow it.  After Justin Rose won the U.S. Open, I thought his English compatriots might be inspired to follow his example.  Westwood has taken up the challenge, and tomorrow I expect him to finish the job.  However, if Westwood does falter, Tiger could be there to pick up the pieces.  Other than Tiger, I would also watch out for Adam Scott -- who almost won this tournament last year, and who could add a claret jug to his green jacket.

1.  L. Westwood (ENG):  -3 (72+68+70=210)

T2.  H. Mahan-1 (72+72+68=212)
T2.  T. Woods-1 (69+71+72=212)

4.  A. Scott (AUS):  Even (71+72+70=213)

T5.  R. Moore+1  (72+70+72=214)
T5.  A. Cabrera (ARG):  +1 (69+72+73=214)
T5.  Z. Johnson+1 (66+75+73=214)
T5.  H. Stenson (SWE):  +1 (70+70+74=214)

T9.  P. Mickelson+2 (69+74+72=215)
T9.  F. Molinari (ITA): +2 (69+74+72=215)


  1. After three holes, Henrik Stenson is 2 under for the day and one under for the tournament. I should have mentioned him as a guy with a chance.

    These days, anyone likely to make the European Ryder Cup team has to be regarded as a strong threat down the stretch in majors. Tiger and Phil are the only Americans who are really competitive with those guys. But neither Tiger nor Phil has played all that well since Thursday.

  2. Through 12 holes, Ian Poulter is 5 under for the day. He's now at even par for the tournament, only three shots off the lead.

  3. Watching Tiger try to make birdie putts is like watching the Nats bat with runners in scoring position. You know nothing good is likely to happen, and you just hope nothing bad happens.

  4. Leaderboard at 2:49 British Summer Time (BST):

    1. L. Westwood (ENG): -2 (57 holes)
    2. H. Stenson (SWE): -1 (59)
    T3. I. Poulter (ENG): Even (66)
    T3. T. Woods: Even (57)
    T3. H. Mahan: Even (57)

  5. Tiger bogeys the fourth hole to fall to two over for the day and one over for the tournament, and his chances of winning his 15th major are just about gone.

    Now it's down to three European Ryder Cup players who have never won a major: Westwood, Stenson, and Poulter.

  6. Brandt Snedeker birdies the 9th hole to move to 2 over par. He's getting dangerously close to the lead.

    But then Westwood birdies the 5th to move to 3 under, so he (and Snedeker) both look pretty safe for now.

  7. Tiger bogeys the 6th hole to fall to three over for the day and two over for the tournament. He's five shots back, and now he's really done.

  8. Leaderboard at 3:22 B.S.T.

    1. L. Westwood (ENG): -3 (59 holes)
    T2. I. Poulter (ENG): Even (69)
    T2. H. Stenson (SWE): Even (62)
    T4. P. Mickelson: +1 (62)
    T4. Z. Johnson: +1 (61)
    T4. H. Mahan: +1 (59)

  9. And then Mickelson birdies the 9th hole to move to even part for the tournament. He's tied for second, three shots behind Westwood.

  10. Poulter bogeys the 16th hole to fall back to one over par.

  11. Stenson birdies the 9th hole to move to one under.

  12. Mickelson bogeys the 10th hole to fall back to one over.

  13. On the par-3 7th, Westwood has hit his tee shot into one of those British Open bunkers with a high wall between you and the green, and his ball is up against the wall.

    His second shot bounces off the wall, and ends up trickling back into the bunker.

    His third shot clears the wall, and rolls onto the green.

  14. Leaderboard at 3:37 P.M. B.S.T.

    1. L. Westwood (ENG): -3 (60 holes)
    2. H. Stenson (SWE): -1 (63)
    T3. I. Poulter (ENG): +1 (70)
    T3. P. Mickelson: +1 (64)
    T3. Z. Johnson: +1 (63)
    T3. A. Scott: +1 (61)

  15. And then Westwood holes a 20-foot bogey putt on 7 to stay in the lead.

    He's been making these putts all weekend. It really looks like it's his week.

  16. Apparently, I missed a bunch of stuff.

    Leaderboard at 4:12 B.S.T.

    T1. H. Stenson (SWE): -1 (65 holes)
    T1. A. Scott (AUS): -1 (64)
    T1. L. Westwood (ENG): -1 (63)
    T4. P. Mickelson: Even (67)
    T4. H. Mahan: Even (63)
    T4. Z. Johnson: Even (63)

  17. Oh, my. While I was away, Phil Mickelson has taken the lead. Through 17 holes, Mickelson has five birdies and one bogey, and he is working on what would be an amazing four-under par 67. I didn't think anybody could do that today, but I was wrong.


    Mickelson was two over par when the day began.

    At the turn, he was even, but then he bogeyed the 10th hole to fall to one over. At that point, he was four shots out of the lead.

    He was still one over par when he teed off on 13. Here is what he did from there on:

    13th hole: BIRDIE
    14th hole: BIRDIE
    15th hole: Par
    16th hole: Par
    17th hole: BIRDIE
    18th hole: BIRDIE

    That is amazing, amazing stuff.

    1. I was trying to figure out what the heck was going on with this tournament from sports-talk radio yesterday afternoon while I was driving home from DisneyWorld. As you might imagine, all the hosts wanted to talk about was the collapse of Lee Westwood and (especially) Tiger Woods. (And because it was Sunday and the final round of a major golf tournament, no one was listening to phone in and talk about anything else.) It took me forever to find out that Mickelson had put together this phenomenal charge, and I just couldn't believe my ears.

  19. Here is the leaderboard at 5:16 B.S.T.:

    1. P. Mickelson: -3 (72 holes)
    T2. H. Stenson (SWE): Even (71)
    T2. L. Westwood (ENG): Even (69)
    T4. I. Poulter (ENG): +1 (72)
    T4. A. Scott (AUS): +1 (69)

  20. On the radio, they are saying that this is the greatest round Phil Mickelson has ever played. I've seen almost every big round Mickelson has played, and I think they are correct.

    1. Phil Mickelson apparently thought they were correct, too.

  21. Oh, my! What a tournament. Golf is having a great year.

  22. This is the eighth time Lee Westwood has finished in the top 3 of a major without a victory. He is the record-holder in this category -- Colin Montgomery is second with six.

    1. I would've guessed Greg Norman by a substantial margin.