2017 British Open leaderboard breakdown: Scores, Round 3 coverage, golf highlights
Leaderboard scores and updates from Round 3 of the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale
Saturday's record scoring showed the potential to go low at Royal Birkdale when there's little wind help defend the course, but barring something truly extraordinary, the 146th Open Championships has become a two-man race.
Brendan Grace would need to follow up his record-breaking 62 with another score in the mid-60s, or maybe it could be Dustin Johnson matching his Saturday score of 64, but even in those cases it will take a series of errors from the final group for the Claret Jug to be awarded to anyone other than Jordan Spieth or Matt Kuchar.
Both players tied for the lowest score of the day on Thursday with a 65 and enter the final round of play three strokes clear of the rest of the field. They had their hiccups on Friday, but with calmer conditions favoring low scores, there was a steady approach by both golfers. They attacked when birdie chances presented themselves but were more than happy to walk away from the green after par putts.
Two players, one 23 years old and the other 39 years young, remained steady while other title contenders faded from the picture on Saturday afternoon and will go shot-for-shot and hole-for-hole tomorrow to decide the Open Championship.
Here's how the leaderboard looks after 54 holes:
1. Jordan Spieth (-11): History will be on the line Sunday as Spieth looks to win the third leg of the career Grand Slam before his 24th birthday and wrap up as impressive a wire-to-wire victory as we've seen in a major in recent years. This was his second bogey-free 65 of the week at Royal Birkdale, and it makes sense that the best ball-striker in the game is in position to get the win at a ball-strikers course in Southport, England.
2. Matt Kuchar (-8): It was another day of grinding for Kuchar with birdie runs interrupted by missteps on both nines. No one in the field has carded more birdies this week than Kuchar, who had seven Saturday and will need another handful of them to push and potentially knock off Spieth on Sunday.
T3. Brooks Koepka (-5): The U.S. Open champion got on a heater early and matched his best nine-hole score of the championship going out in 32 despite two bogeys. Though things looked shaky for both Koepka and Ian Poulter (his Saturday playing partner), the former was able to pick up strokes on the leaders with birdies on both of the par-5s on the second nine. It'll probably take a 65 on Sunday to win, but he has been strong enough around the greens to think it's possible.
T3. Austin Connelly (-5): Branden Grace had the round of the day, but Connelly had the undisputed shot of the day with this dunk for an eagle at No. 2. The 20-year-old has been throwing birdie after birdie on the card here at his first major championship appearance and seems poised to be a player we'll see more and more on the world stage moving forward.
What a way to move two off the top! 👌 pic.twitter.com/1UtBUvpPh1— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 22, 2017
T5. Branden Grace (-4): There will be no shortage of takes for Grace's 62, but that's expected when history is made in a sport that sees changes in venue every week and conditions by the hour. But the fact remains: Major championship golf has been played since 1860 and in that time no one has completed a round in less than 63 strokes before Saturday, and it was fun as hell to watch it unfold. The fact that Grace didn't even know about the record makes it even more fun. He didn't know he was making history; he just wanted to finish the round bogey-free.
T5. Hideki Matsuyama (-4): The list of players to take seriously as a threat to Spieth or Kuchar is short, but Matusyama is absolutely on that list. He's one of the top talents in the world and capable of firing another round in the mid-60s. After four bogeys and a double-bogey on Friday, Matsuyama locked in and looked sharp during his final 14 holes on Saturday. I think he can get to 8 under by the end of the championship, but he'll need some help for that score to be good enough to win.
T7. Dustin Johnson (-3): You have to put D.J. on that list of long shots, but he'll need another 64 or a 63 to get up into a championship-winning score (he started 71-72). There is plenty of confidence D.J. can go low, but much less confidence that the leaders will fall back enough to bring him into the mix.
T7. Henrik Stenson (-3): Only Grace and D.J. had better rounds than Stenson on Saturday. The defending champ has been one of the best in the field this week hitting greens in regulation and his climb up the leaderboard ensures that the story of his 2017 Open will be more than his house get burglarized. Probably too far back to win it, but certainly a player you can bet on to finish in the top 10 by the end of the day on Sunday.
T7. Chan Kim (-3): The Arizona State product hasn't been active on the PGA Tour but earned a spot in the Open Championship during a scorching run of golf in Japan that saw him shoot 69-68 at the Ono Golf Club in a U.S. Open qualifier then win the Mizuno Open in Okayama later the week to earn a spot in the field at Royal Birkdale. He has been driving the ball well and playing great coming in, carding nine of his 12 birdies on the second nine. A third consecutive round in the 60s will ensure qualifying next year won't be as difficult.
T7. Rafael Cabrera-Bello (-3): The same quality golf that Cabrera-Bello showed in his Scottish Open victory last week has continued and now he's in contention to record not only his best finish at The Open (T21 in 2013) but best major finish of his career (T17 at the Masters in 2016).
Catch up on the highlights from Round 3 below with a recap of our live blog. If you are unable to view the updates in the live application below, please click here.
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