Chris DiMarco claimed “divine intervention” played a part in his third-round 69 at Hoylake which lifted him to 12 under and within one shot of leader and defending champion Tiger Woods today.
The 37-year-old American’s mother Norma died at the beginning of this month but he and his father Rich decided playing in the Open would be what she would have wanted.
And so far it is working out perfectly, having carded a 70 and a course record-equalling 65 on the first two days.
“We walked onto the first tee and the scorer in our group was called Norma. I have met about five Normas in my life. It was weird,” said the Ryder Cup star. “As soon as I introduced myself I got goosebumps.
“I told my caddie: ‘She’s right up there with us, I know she is. I’ve got somebody up there that’s going to be looking over me tomorrow’.”
Although Woods did not pull away from the field like he was expected to – he shot a one-under-par 71 to move to 13 under – the task facing the players chasing him is daunting.
The world number one has never lost a major when leading going into the final day but compatriot DiMarco dismissed the notion it was something which hung over his rivals like a cloud.
“I don’t think the players believe any of it. I think it’s you guys (the media) that keep bringing it up,” he said.
“Stats don’t lie; obviously he’s a pretty good front-runner and he’s usually got a five or six-shot lead. Tomorrow he has a one-shot lead.
“Anything can happen with a one-shot lead. But the guy has a knack for winning so it’s going to be tough to beat him.”
Having lost a play-off against Woods in last year’s Masters DiMarco probably has something to prove – not that he would admit.
“It doesn’t matter. It would be nice to beat everyone because it means I win,” he added.
“There is nothing extra in beating Tiger, it doesn’t matter. Obviously you want to beat the best player in the world but there are five or six guys within a couple of shots and right now they are trying to do the same thing tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.”