Published: Mon, July 23, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

Sizzling 66 puts charging Tiger in the British Open mix

Sizzling 66 puts charging Tiger in the British Open mix

But he could get the battle with Tiger Woods he has always pictured in his head with the 14-time major victor lurking ominously among the chasing pack after a thrilling day of low scoring at a defenceless Carnoustie.

A miss-hit flop shot at the 11th ended cost him a double-bogey that stopped him in his tracks and although he birdied the 14th to stay in the hunt he fell just short, finishing in a tie for sixth on five-under.

Francesco Molinari hopes his Open Championship glory inspires a new generation of Italians to play golf - and finally makes up for the Costantino Rocca losing in that St Andrews play-off 23 years ago. His 76 had plunged him from his opening lead shared with impressive 24-year-old Californian Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, and Spieth never did make a birdie yet felt encouraged, particularly with his putting.

Before heading to the course on Saturday, Spieth went into Carnoustie for what he called "a very British haircut", just as Tiger Woods was rolling back the years with his third-round 66 in front of huge galleries.

An important thing for Tiger was to show his kids how he used to be earlier in his career, rather than the injured athlete he often describes as "the youtube golfer".

However, it proved to be a false dawn as three dropped shots in two holes saw him fall behind and in the end the 14-time major victor was being consoled by his two children.

"I'm lost for words", Molinari said after his 2-under-par 69 landed him at 8-under for the tournament, two shots ahead of a four-way logjam in second.

"I was like, I feel fine".

But there are five players between him and the outright lead - and what amounts to two threesomes tied with him.

"I think he's got a great chance", Norris said.

At the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, Woods opened tied for the fourth-best odds to win the PGA Championship at 16-1.

Spieth, the defending champion, has also made a strong start to his third round, eagling the first hole after driving onto the green, and then rolling in a birdie at No. 4.

The first to congratulate him was Woods. "From someone like me coming from Italy, not really a major golfing country, it's been an incredible journey". That is all you can ask of yourself. Today was a day that I had a great opportunity.

The pair's 72-hole total of 282 was good enough for top-20 finishes, but not good enough to contend for the Claret Jug.

Adam Scott and Jason Day will wonder what might have been after Australia's British Open title drought extended to 25 years with another unsuccessful tilt at Carnoustie. "To me, it's just so special to have them aware because I've won a lot of golf tournaments in my career, but they don't remember any of them". But I felt really good this morning. I could have easily made a four with one better swing and I would have been satisfied with even par today, considering the way I played.

On a day where prevailing winds made life hard for the leaders, Molinari's tactical masterclass yielded a 69 that was enough to reach eight under for the tournament and triumph by two strokes.

He was three shots behind the leaders, who had yet to tee off in the afternoon at Carnoustie.

"This was his first taste of major championship drama for quite a while", McIlroy said.

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