England’s Chris Wood took advantage of benign conditions to surge up the leaderboard in the early stages of day three of the 147th Open Championship.
Just nine shots separated the 79 players who made the halfway cut at Carnoustie, where Paul Lawrie famously came from 10 strokes back with just 18 holes to play to win the Claret Jug in 1999.
And there was more good news for the chasing pack in that Ben Hogan is the only Open winner at Carnoustie to have claimed victory after having held the lead following an earlier round.
1st hole: +2July 21, 2018
Hogan was tied for the lead after 54 holes in 1953 before going on to lift the Claret Jug in his only appearance in the event, but the last two winners, Lawrie and Padraig Harrington, trailed by 10 and six strokes respectively after three rounds.
Wood, who was fifth in the Open as an amateur in 2008 and third a year later, began the day eight shots off the lead shared by Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, but birdied the first, third, fifth, sixth and seventh to race to the turn in 31.
And another birdie on the 10th took the former Ryder Cup player to six under par for the day, four under overall and into a tie for sixth.
England’s Tommy Fleetwood holds the course record at Carnoustie with a 63 recorded in last year’s Dunhill Links Championship, but the lowest score in an Open at the venue is 64, shot by Steve Stricker and Richard Green in rounds three and four respectively in 2007.
Fleetwood was just a shot off the lead after a bogey-free 65 on Friday, but was already working on the putting green with more than three hours to go before teeing off alongside American Pat Perez.
The odd number of players making the cut meant that Malaysia’s Gavin Green was accompanied by a marker, Keir McNicoll, a senior PGA assistant at Carnoustie Golf Links, as he struck the opening shot at 9.15am.
England’s Justin Rose was also among the early starters after scraping into the weekend with a birdie on the 18th on Friday evening, the OIympic champion picking up five birdies in 14 holes to improve to two under par.
- Press Association