Tiger Woods cranked up the pressure on defending champion Jordan Spieth as the 147th Open Championship headed for a thrilling climax on Sunday.
Chasing a 15th major title and his first since the 2008 US Open, Woods began the final round at Carnoustie four shots off the lead shared by Spieth, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.
But while Kisner’s chances suffered a potentially fatal blow with three dropped shots in two holes, Woods holed from 20 feet for birdie on the fourth to reduce his deficit to three.
Battling it out with Tiger for a major is a dream come true for Jordan Spieth.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) July 22, 2018
England’s Eddie Pepperell had set the early clubhouse target after a superb 67 left him five under par, four shots off the lead.
However, Tommy Fleetwood’s chances of becoming the first English winner since Nick Faldo in 1992 looked to have gone after he pulled his third shot on the sixth out of bounds, the resulting double bogey leaving him six off the pace.
Rory McIlroy was also heading in the wrong direction, the four-time major winner dropping shots on the second and fifth to join Fleetwood on three under.
Three dropped shots in two holes for Fleetwood. 😞
After an errant second shot out of bounds he walks off with a double bogey at the seventh.
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) July 22, 2018
Despite the wind being forecast to gust up to 25mph, the course was set to play to 7,447 yards, the longest all week and 45 yards longer than the supposed full yardage of 7,402.
Eleven of the pin positions were also located within five yards of the edge of the greens, including on the daunting 18th where the champion golfer of the year will be decided – either in regulation or via a four-hole play-off.
The good news for the chasing pack aiming to overhaul joint leaders Spieth and Schauffele was that six of the seven Open winners at Carnoustie have come from off the pace, Ben Hogan the exception after sharing the 54-hole lead in 1953.
And the last two winners came from well back, Paul Lawrie starting the final round 10 shots behind in 1999 and Padraig Harrington being six off the lead in 2007, with both men eventually winning in a play-off.
– Press Association