LYTHAM, England (AFP) –
Adam Scott took the lead in the third round of the British Open at Royal Lytham on Saturday as Brandt Snedeker finally proved fallible with his putter.
American Snedeker started the day on 10-under par following rounds of 66 and 64 that equalled the lowest first 36 holes in Open and major championship history. Scott, from Australia, was one shot back after rounds of 64 and 67.
Next best was Tiger Woods, who was four shots off the pace.
Snedeker, who went bogey-free in the first two rounds, and Scott parred their first four holes, playing risk-free golf and waiting to see if anyone would make a run at them.
But at the par-three fifth, Snedeker finally allowed a bogey by missing a five-footer to fall back level with Scott at nine under.
He promptly took another bogey at the next, landing in one of Lytham’s 206 pot bunkers for the first time and having to hit out sideways.
Scott meanwhile parred the first six holes and was solo in the lead with Snedeker one back. They both then had birdies at the par-five seventh.
The chasing pack, an array of international talent, ebbed and flowed in the perfect playing conditions.
Leading the way was 14-time major winner Woods.
He got off to a dreadul start by missing makeable putts at the first and third before rebounding with a monster putt at the sixth followed by a second birdie at the par-five seventh.
That put him back at six under, four shots off the lead.
Playing with Woods, rising Dane Thorbjorn Olesen showed wonderful bunker-playing skills to stay at five under, level with 2002 Open champion Ernie Els of South Africa, who had birdies at the sixth and seventh.
Also at five under but already in the clubhouse was 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson, who skipped up the leaderboard with a 66.
Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington were among the big names to finish their third rounds early Saturday and all failed to produce the kind of low scoring that could have put them back in the mix.
World No. 3 Westwood fired a one-over par 71 to stand on four-over 214, No. 2 and 2011 US Open champion McIlroy had a 73 to stand at five over and three-time major winner Harrington carded a 70 for two over.
Westwood, who made it 58 majors without a title win, said the pin positions were tricky and there was a slight breeze “but it’s still very playable and very scorable out there.”
To prove the point, Fiji veteran Vijay Siingh came in with a 68 to leave him at level par 210 after 54 holes.