Any St Andrews Open always brings Sever to mind. First, THAT picture and then enjoy these tweets from Matt.
Matt adds: “Has there ever been a more photogenic golfer? Even the family album images prove that the camera loved him from a young age. The one of him on a moped is just sensational.”
Tommy Fleetwood finished runner-up to Shane Lowry in the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush and the straggly-haired Englishman is on the march again. Fleetwood’s palindromic Saturday scorecard reads birdie-birdie-par-par-birdie-birdie. That flourish of red numbers has taken him into tied eighth on -7. Here’s the leader board.
-13: Smith (-)
-11: Young (-)
-10: McIlroy (-), Hovland (-)
-9: D Johnson (-)
-8: Scheffler (-), Hatton (-)
-7 Kisner (F), DeChambeau (14), Fleetwood (7), Gooch (-), Scott (-), Cantlay (-), Theegala (-)
What’s the word on the street(s)? Here’s Matt Cooper again with some scene setting. Still over two hours until ‘go time’ for the final two groups.
It’s been a little quieter in the town this week than many people have been expecting, but last night there was a real buzz about the town and that continued into Saturday morning. A notable absence though? Sightings of Open golfers out and about. It’s normally an Open constant but fear of a positive Covid test is probably keeping socializing to a minimum.
I popped into the town’s favorite bakery, Fisher & Donaldson. There are many good reasons to head there – the square sausage bap, Scotch pie and toffee donut are all recommended – but I mostly visit because I’m tickled by the idea that it’s a side hustle of Ross Fisher and Jamie Donaldson.
Matt Cooper is live at St Andrews and he’s caught up with two of the Guardian’s finest in the press tent. Is this to be Rory’s week?
Ewan Murray on Rory: “I think his chances are very good. This is as comfortable as I’ve seen him on and around the golf course since 2014 when he was winning majors with ease. There’s an element of randomness to links golf which means anything could happen and Cam Smith especially is going to be tough to beat, but I regard this, a bit obvious, as his best opportunity to win a major championship since 2014. ”
Ewan Murray on Cam Smith: “Smith is interesting because he had a tendency to throw in double bogeys in otherwise very good rounds and rounds here that is very possible especially if you encounter a bunker. But he has shown no sign of that through 36 holes. So, I am waiting for the big ricket to arrive, but there’s been no sign of it so far. Can it stay that way? My feeling is that if Rory McIlroy beats Cam Smith he’ll win the Open. He’s the biggest danger to Rory’s chances.”
Andy Bull on Rory: “The thing with Rory is you’re always waiting for him to have one of those wobbles along the way. I’ve been covering him at the majors for a decade now and I’ve been writing the same story, about him playing so much good golf and then having that wobble. But he seems so in control of himself this week. How he’s carrying himself, how he’s talking, how he’s playing – it’s the most impressive he’s been at a major. I’m pretty positive and I hope he does it because the atmosphere here would be amazing.”
Do not adjust your screens. This is a real tweet. Good start for the Crushers today thanks to DeChambeau. Just hope it doesn’t get nasty out there. There’s a long and deep history between Aces and Majesticks fans that goes back days. We don’t want to see those bitter rivals scrapping by the Old Course Hotel.
That birdie blitz has taken Kisner up to tied eighth, a leap of 58 places. But he wasn’t the only golfer making hay this morning. Playing partner Trey Mullinax, who won last week’s Barbasol Championship in Kentucky before jetting to Scotlandshire, fired a 66 – as did 2018 Open champion Francesco Molinari. Those six under rounds have lifted the duo to tied 13th. Bigh-hitting South African Dean Burmester tossed in a 67 while Bryson DeChambeau is also on the move. The 2020 US Open champion has signed for an eagle and four birdies in his first 13 holes to join Kisner in tied eighth on 7-under. Tied eighth sounds quite impressive but bear in mind the leaders are bound to pour in a bunch of birdies too with the weather forecast for the rest of today suggesting nothing more than a light breeze.
To Kevin Kisner then. As noted in the preamble, he went wild this morning, making birdies at 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8. He had a putt at 9 for an outward 29 which he just missed. No matter, a birdie at 10 took him to 7-under for the round and there whispers of course records and even a 59. Rory McIlroy’s opening 63 in 2010 is the best 18-hole score in an Open at St Andrews while Ross Fisher once shot to 61 on the Old Course in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. However, that DP World Tour event is a pro-am, with flags placed in the middle of greens to avoid putting too much pressure on Hugh Grant’s approach play. In the end Kisner had to settle for a 65, still a fantastic effort but not a record-breaking one. Huh, it’s not even the lowest score of the week, that honor still belongs to leader Cameron Smith.
I like these weekend mornings at Open Championships. The early starters are too far back to win but they act as a fun warm-up act, a sort of collective Ted Robbins. You also get some curiosities. I recall thinking at Lytham in 2012 that Andres Romero’s caddy looked uncannily like Carlos Tevez. In fact it was Carlos Tevez, the then Manchester City star acting as bagman for fellow his Argentine in the final round. It didn’t go well. Romero shot 82 to finish dead last and there were reports that Tevez fell into a bunker.
Welcome to Moving Day! American Kevin Kisner is certainly embracing that term after having a putt to be out on 29 this morning. More on him later.
It’s a while yet before the final pair of Cameron Smith and Cameron Young swish away from that iconic 1st tee ground although it’s the penultimate group of Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland who will take the biggest crowds with them as they make their away around St Andrews this afternoon.
With plenty of other big names lurking in behind, this could be one of those special summer Open days. The sun is out, the Old Course looks an absolute picture so get comfy and see how round three of the 150th Open Championship unfolds.
Here are the tee times. All times BST, to denote amateurs
8.35am Richard Mansell
8.45am Trey MullinaxKevin Kisner
8.55am Tony Finau, Adrian Arnaus
9.05am Justin De Los Santos, Robert MacIntyre
9.15am Francesco Molinari, Dean Burmester
9.25am Lars van Meijel, Robert Dinwiddie
9.40am Sebastian Munoz, Jordan Smith
9.50am Sungjae Im, Aaron Jarvis (a)
10:00 a.m. Wyndham Clark, Sam Bairstow (a)
10:10 a.m. Christiaan Bezuidenhout, John Parry
10.20am Anthony QuayleChris Kirk
10.30am Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau
10.45am Jamie Rutherford, Jason Scrivener
10.55am Joaquin Niemann, Paul Casey
11.05 a.m. Marcus Armitage, Adrian Meronk
11.15am Justin Thomas, Jason Kokrak
11.25am Danny Willett, Corey Conners
11.35am Billy Horschel, Cameron Tringale
11.50 a.m. Laurie Canter, Thomas Pieters
12.00pm Russell Henley, Dylan Frittelli
12.10pm Brian HarmanTommy Fleetwood
12.20pm Kurt Kitayama, Garrick Higgo
12.30pm Ian Poulter, Sam Burns
12.40pm David Law, Filippo Celli (a)
12.55pm Sergio Garcia, Will Zalatoris
1.05pm Shane Lowry, Nicolai Hojgaard
1.15pm Victor Perez, Brad Kennedy
1.25pm Joo-Hyung Kim, Patrick Reed
1.35pm Harold Varner III, Jon Rahm
1.45pm Jordan SpiethThriston Lawrence
2.00pm Thomas Detry, Xander Schauffele
2.10pm Lee Westwood, David Carey
2.20pm Yuto Katsuragawa, Abraham Ancer
2.30pm Aaron Wise, Lucas Herbert
2.40pm Barclay Brown (a), Sadom Kaewkanjana
2.50pm Min Woo Lee, Matt Fitzpatrick
3.05pm Si Woo Kim, Sahith Theegala
3.15pm Patrick Cantlay, Adam Scott
3.25pm Talor Gooch, Tyrrell Hatton
3.35pm Scottie Scheffler, Dustin Johnson
3.45pm Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland
3.55pm Cameron YoungCameron Smith