The Open Championship is set for an amazing finish. The top of the leader board is littered with Major champions but sitting in first is probably the best player not to own one.
Lee Westwood played a great round on Saturday and is looking to continue the momentum fellow countrymen Justin Rose and tennis star Andy Murray have going for England. It’s almost like the Year of the Cardinal, except for an entire country and only 2 sports! Westwood was marvelous battling the dangers of Muirfield and shooting a -1 3rd round. He was one of only 11 competitors to play in red numbers on Saturday and one of only 3 players under par through 54 holes. He was certainly in danger with 4 bogeys but he avoided disaster by carding nothing worse that +1 and rallied with 3 birdies and a fabulous eagle on the Par 5 5th.
He is being chased by some stiff competition, who know what it takes to win a Major Championship, with the likes of Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Angel Cabrera, Zach Johnson, and Phil Mickelson within 5 strokes of the lead. As yesterday proved, things can change quickly! If you saw Martin Laird, who was -1 through the first two days, you will know how fast and bad things can go. He birdied the Par 4 2nd hole on Saturday to move to -2 under for the Championship and then it all went wrong. He took 2 unplayable lies on the third hole and carded a 9. His round, and tournament were over as he went on to shoot a 10 over 81 and move from contention to an early tee time. He just finished his final round and his combined 1st,2nd, and 4th rounds he shot even par, so just one bad hole can change everything.
Westwood has every opportunity and a 2 shot cushion but a ton of pressure. This will be a day of maintaining and he can’t afford to flirt with disaster as he did on Saturday. Through the early groups on Sunday,only Jason Dufner has had a low round shooting a 67, so Westwood shooting even par could be all it takes. Mahan had a great Saturday and shot a 68 to move in to a tie with Woods in 2nd place. He will be paired with Westwood and can put direct pressure on the Englishman and his country’s hopes. Mahan is also looking for his first Major Championship and may be getting overlooked but he definitely has what it takes, flat bill and all! The next to last tee time may be where the cameras are most focused with Tiger Woods and Adam Scott…and of course Stevie. Either man has the ability to hoist the Claret Jug at the end of the day, but it will take Westwood stumbling. Woods has managed his way around the course, where a par is even a good score for him. Scott has also avoided any major damage and sits at E through 54 holes. Despite the names and talent sitting at +1 or +2, I think the winner will come from the last two groups. Today’s final holes will provide great drama and another amazing finish for the world of golf. Here are the tee times of the contenders in today’s Open Championship….of course the world’s greatest name is sitting at +2.
On a local note, Kentucky’s Josh Teater did make the cut. He had a solid first round at +1, but had a rough go since shooting rounds of 77,75, and 77 to cap off his weekend. He is currenlty sitting at 82nd.