Tiger Woods finds his Open return a pain in the neck

Carla Harmon
July 21, 2018

Carnoustie was a far different test from the opening round, when sunshine baked the fairways crisp and it was hard to figure out how far the ball was going when it hit the ground.

"He's close" to peak, said Shaun Norris, the 36-year-old South African who played alongside Woods.

Woods was six off the lead at the halfway stage after consecutive rounds of 71, and he made a solid start to the third round as he opened with three pars before beginning his march up the leaderboard with a birdie at the fourth. He was six-under after scoring a birdie on the 14th hole.

It was not quite good enough to trouble Tommy Fleetwood's overall course record of 63, set past year at the Dunhill Championship, but it allowed him to retain some hope of becoming the first English victor of the Claret Jug since Nick Faldo in 1992. At the long par-three 16th his tee-shot just failed to stay on the green and he three-putted. He predicted the lead number might get to 10-under before day's end and he seemed fine with that.

At 42, 15 months after a fusion back surgery he has credited with rehabilitating him, Woods said, "It's been a few years since I felt like this". The steady, light rain made them a little slower and a lot more predictable.

"As long as you don't hit it in the fairway bunkers, you're always going to have a shot at the green", said McIlroy, who ended the day tied for eighth with the likes of Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Danny Willett on two under.

If you can't watch, you can listen on Talksport 2, which will cover the four days of The Open, starting at 7am on Thursday and Friday. His two-round total of 138 was looking good until, for an hour at least, the winds died down at Carnoustie at Kisner sprinted out to -8.

Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world, finished bogey-double bogey for a 72 and missed the cut by one.

"Everyone acts like this is the first time I've been bandaged up".

"I've been called Dustin many times", Zach Johnson said.

There was not a single bogey in Fleetwood's round, while the last of his six birdies came at the 18th.

Played in the United Kingdom as the only major not in the USA, the British Open is being held at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland in 2018. His low ball flight, grinding nature and good putting give him the right ingredients.

Spieth began the day one one-over after dropping four shots in his last four holes on Thursday, but started heading up the leaderboard with a stroke of magic on the third - chipping in from off the green for a birdie. He said he was thinking more about the outcome than the shots, and vowed to make sure that doesn't happen again.

McIlroy played in the final pairing at Augusta National with Patrick Reed and never challenged him.

"It wasn't pretty off the tee, but I got it done, and I took advantage of some fortunate bounces", said McIlroy, who birdied the third and bogeyed the fifth, then picked up shots at the 12th and par-five 14th before saving par from around 25ft at the 248-yard 16th.

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