Jordan Spieth leads The Open as Tiger Woods moves into contention



Defending champion Jordan Spieth has a share of The Open lead after a faultless third round with Tiger Woods also in contention at Carnoustie.

American Spieth, 24, shot a six-under 65 as he bids to become the first man to retain the Claret Jug since 2008.

Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele are also nine under par, with Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood on five under.

Woods shot his lowest round at a major since 2011 as a five-under-par 66 put him alongside McIlroy and Fleetwood.

Making his first Open appearance since 2015, Woods sunk six birdies to take a share of a six-way lead at one point.

The 42-year-old American dropped his only shot on the 16th to fall back to five-under overall, but remains in contention to challenge on Sunday after showing glimpses of the game which has won him 14 majors.

Now ranked 71st in the world after starting the year in 650th, Woods has not won a major since the 2008 US Open.

Italy’s Francesco Molinari matched Spieth’s 65 to finish six under after 54 holes, with only England’s Justin Rose carding a lower third-round score to move to four under.

Opening eagle lays platform for Spieth

Spieth is bidding to emulate Padraig Harrington by winning back-to-back Open titles at Carnoustie and Royal Birkdale, a decade on from the Irishman’s two triumphs on the same courses.

The three-time major winner had struggled for his best form since finishing third at the Masters in April, but proved once again he has the talent and mindset to produce when it matters most.

He showed his intent on the first hole, a near 400-yard par four, with an aggressive drive that reached the green and enabled him to convert a 10-foot putt for an eagle.

A birdie on the fourth put him into a share of the lead, eventually taking the outright lead with a two on the par-three 16th – his third birdie in six holes.

Another half chance on the last slipped by, Spieth having to settle for a par and a round of 65 which equals his lowest score at an Open.

“I know as well as anyone that anything can happen in the Open. I’m not getting ahead of myself, I’m just in a good position,” said the Texan.

Excitement as Tiger prowls

Excitement mounted on the Scottish links as Woods climbed the leaderboard, with large numbers following the former world number one around the course and whoops of support greeting virtually every shot.

The three-time Open champion was level par for the tournament at the start of the round, but took full advantage of perfect scoring conditions.

Birdies on the fourth and sixth provided a solid platform, before a run of three more on nine, 10 and 11 put him into contention.

Woods took another opportunity at the par-five 14th to top a major leaderboard for the first time since the Masters in 2013.

After a missed birdie putt on the 15th denied him the outright lead, he dropped from the leading pack after missing the green on the par-three 16th to record the only blemish on his card.

A stray drive was fortunate to avoid the Barry Burn on the last, but a safe second and neat approach allowed him to convert a par for his lowest round at a major since a 66 at the 2011 Masters.

McIlroy and Fleetwood left frustrated by progress

McIlroy, 29, is bidding for his first major title since winning the 2014 PGA Championship and put himself in a good position with successive rounds of 69.

However, the Northern Irishman was unable to significantly build on that in benign conditions on Saturday.

The four-time major winner was two shots off the lead at seven under before two bogeys in the final three holes left him rueing a “frustrating” finish.

“I felt walking onto 16 at three under that was good,” said McIlroy.

“I am disappointed to drop a couple in the last three holes and I will try to make up for it and try to catch the leaders.

“I would love to be two behind going into the last day instead of four, but there are a lot of guys in with a chance and the wind will be stronger tomorrow and that will give a lot of people hope.”

Fleetwood, 27, said he was disappointed with a level-par round of 71 which saw five birdies wiped out by three bogeys and a double bogey.

The Englishman, ranked 10th in the world, set the course record of 63 at Carnoustie last year and believes he will need to go close to that mark if he is to win a first major title.

“That’s the good thing, that I can draw on the fact that I have low rounds in me and success on this golf course,” he said.



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