Lowry’s approach at the first
Ends in the greenside bunker. But he has one of the best short games in the world and he gets up and down for par.
It’s the same story for McIlroy on the 14th – he saves par from the bunker on the par-five to stay at two-under.
Danny Willett’s drive at the first
Finds the fairway – it’s proved to be a tricky tee shot for many but that is perfect from the 2016 Masters champion who is on four-under. His playing partner Brian Harman’s drive is pulled right into the rough – not ideal.
Lowry’s third round is under way
The defending champion’s drive is fine – it finds the first cut of rough on the left. He’ll be hoping for a Saturday exactly like the one he enjoyed at Royal Portrush two years ago.
It’s sunny at Royal St George’s
Rory goes backwards
After his great start the Northern Irishman has just bogeyed the 13th and is two-over for the back nine now after going out in four-under. He’s back to two-under.
Shane Lowry is about to tee off
The defending champion had a brilliant day yesterday in a stunning threeball. The Irish winner at Royal Portrush shot 65 to head into today’s third round on four-under. Another good round today will put him further in the mix ahead of the final 18 holes. The Champion Golfer of the Year more than played his part in the marquee group on Friday as alongside his 65, Louis Oosthuizen also shot a 65 and Jon Rahm a magnificent 64 – impressive.
Tough day for Rickie Fowler
The man who tied for second in 2014 behind McIlroy began with bogeys at two, three and four then two more at 11 and 12 but birdies at 13 and 16 seemed to have stopped the rot. Now, however, he has just recorded his fifth bogey of the day at 17 and is +4 with one to play.
Just a reminder that the leader will begin his third round at 3.55pm:
McIlroy on 12 with a 12ft putt for birdie
But it’s a tricky one, breaking from right to left and he almost judges it perfectly, certainly the weight as he pushed it up a slight gradient. But when it hit the break and curled back towards the cup it came later and bent around the top of the back lip leaving him a gimme for par.
He is three-under with six to play.
Second bogey for McIlroy
At the par three 11th after putting his tee shot into the bunker to the right of the green. He is now back to three-under.
De Chambeau signs for a 72
Repairing the damage of bogeys at 13 and 15 with birdies at 14 and 17.
Interesting take, this:
Is the clubhouse leader after three rounds on -2 after opening with 13 pars then finishing with birdie, bogey and a hat-trick of birdies. The boy from Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain, is playing his first Open.
Tommy Fleetwood, with a healthy following, opens with two pars to great acclaim.
And Bob Macintyre joins Gooch on two-under with his fourth birdie today at the 14th.
Adam Scott shows his intestinal fortitude
After this at the fourth which led to a double bogey:
He recovers with a birdie at the fifth to halve the damage and go back up to +1.
Meanwhile on 10, McIlroy’s drive flew wildly to the right, his second went into the bunker whence he played an amazing splash out of the sand to 5ft. No drama as he taps in his par-saving putt and marches up to the 11th tee still on -4.
Sky shows McIlroy’s birdie putt at nine
Earned by an arrow of an iron shot to within 8ft and he swept it into the cup.
As Sky goes to a bunker tutorial
Rory McIlroy finishes his opening nine in 31 after his fifth birdie of the morning at the 9th. The 2014 champion is now on -4.
Up on the eighth
McIlroy baton twirls the club in his hand after rolling his birdie putt from 20ft to the right of the cup, only a couple of turns from dropping in. He has to settle for a par but seems in great spirits. No Co Down gloom today, but positivity, rueful smiles and fist pumps.
Justin Thomas woes
On the par three third where he was annoyed to have left his par putt 4ft short but then doubled his exasperation with his bogey putt as it lips out. After starting with two pars, the double bogey sends him from red to black at +1.
Antoine Rozner is also having a yoyo moment as he turns the corner going birdie, bogey par at the 7th, 8th and 9th and then birdie, bogey, birdie and 10, 11 and 12.
After dropping a stroke at the par four 13th, DeChambeau scrambles back to +3 after a birdie at 14, set up by a magnificent bunker shot.
He knows him too well …
McIlroy in contention at the seventh
He was upset when his second flirted with the bunker but had too much power and skipped on to 60 yards short of the pin which is placed high and to the right today. His third stroke is a beauty though, pitching perfectly and within 5ft to give him a golden chance of birdie and a climb up to three-under. Richard Boxall had virtually given it to him but then rowed back.
But no need as he taps it in for a fourth birdie in seven holes and he is, indeed, on -3.
McIlroy makes immediate amends
At the sixth with a terrific iron shot to 8ft at the par three and he earns the loudest cheer of the week so far when he drains his birdie putt. Back to two-under. On Sky they are already talking up the possibility of a course record, potential for which “he has in his locker”. On to the par five seventh where he made bogey on Thursday and par yesterday.
Putt like a child
Bob Macintyre needed to make a 7ft birdie putt on 18 last night to make the cut and rolled it in. “I just had a blank head and putted like a kid,” he said. “It was a beautiful putt.” He is continuing where he left off yesterday, with excellent birdies at the 7th and 8th, the left-hander curling in an 18ft wobbler at the latter to move to -1.
Too soon …
McIlroy has dropped a shot on the fifth, the hole that has been playing fourth hardest of the 18 over the first couple of rounds. He bogeyed it on Thursday too, igniting a run of three in succession. He putted off the green to the fringewith his third, leaving him almost 20ft for par which he was unable to make.
Movement on the course
Paul McGinley reports that the tee boxes are now as far back as possible, the pin positions are very challenging and the breeze is up.
This morning’s biggest mover is Antoine Rozner, who won in Dubai in December, Qatar in March and is in 23rd place in the Ryder Cup points table, who has made birdies and five and seven to climb to -1.
Actually he’s now the joint biggest mover after Rory McIlroy rattles in a 15ft putt for birdie at the fourth. The 2014 champions is now on -2, nine behind Oosthuizen and seven adrift of Morikawa on the Hillary step.
DeChambeau drops back
Having begun his third round at one-over and started with eight successive pars, a double bogey at the ninth has left him at +3.
Abraham Ancer began on even pat but started with a triple bogey on the first and a bogey at the second to lurch back to +4.
Rory McIlroy with a decent shout of birdie at the third left his snaking putt high but rolled it in to save par and stays at -1.
Second round leaders over the past five years
2019 Shane Lowry went on to win.
2018 Zach Johnson tied for 17th
2017 Jordan Spieth went on to win
2016 Phil Mickelson finished second
2015 Dustin Johnson made back-to-back 75s on rounds three and four to finish tied 49th at St Andrews
Promising news from the first
Where Rory McIlroy has opened his third round with a birdie three to move to one-under.
McIlroy plays a similar role to Woods in driving interest in every major and as much fun as he is to watch at his best, he does tend to skew the narrative.
Nonetheless, I will report that he has made par at the second and hit a wonderful iron shot at the par three third off the tee into the heart of the green.
Good morning and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s live coverage of day three of the 149th Open Championship from Royal St George’s.
This morning, Bryson Dechambeau started in just the second group of the day and currently sits at one over. Rory McIlroy has made a good start – a birdie on the first – after teeing off at 11.05am.
Last night, Louis Oosthuizen ensured he would take a two-shot lead into the third round after recording the lowest halfway total in championship history.
Oosthuizen fired an eagle and four birdies as he added a 65 to his opening 64 for a total of 129, eclipsing the previous best of 130 set by Sir Nick Faldo in 1992 and matched by Brandt Snedeker in 2012.
Only a bogey on the 16th prevented Oosthuizen from matching the lowest halfway score in any major – Brooks Koepka’s 128 in the 2019 US PGA – but he will be more concerned with the Claret Jug than records after the events of this season.
Already a runner-up in all four major championships, Oosthuizen took his unwanted total of near misses to six by finishing second in both the US PGA at Kiawah Island and the US Open at Torrey Pines.
But the 38-year-old South African, who won the Open at St Andrews in 2010 and lost a play-off at the same venue in 2015, is in pole position to claim an overdue second major after following birdies on the first, seventh, 12th and 13th with an eagle on the 14th.
At 11 under par Oosthuizen was two shots clear of 2020 US PGA champion Collin Morikawa, with three-time major winner Jordan Spieth a stroke further back.
Morikawa had earlier been blissfully unaware of his own chance to make history, seven birdies in the first 14 holes meaning he needed to play the remaining four in two under to card the lowest round in any men’s major.
However, Morikawa bogeyed the 15th and missed good birdie chances on the 16th and 18th to return a 64, a shot outside the course record and two adrift of the major mark set by Branden Grace at Royal Birkdale in 2017.
Morikawa’s halfway total of 131 was also a shot outside the Open record which Oosthuizen would later break, but he said: “I had no clue what any record was. I’m awful with that stuff. I know now.”
Morikawa could only finish in a tie for 71st in last week’s Scottish Open but credited the experience – and changing three of his irons to cope with the links turf – for his performance at Royal St George’s, where Ben Curtis was the last debutant to win the Open in 2003.
The biggest difference is that Curtis was 396th in the world at the time, while Morikawa is ranked fourth and already a major champion following his victory at Harding Park last August.