Sergio To Storm It? The Open Day 3 Review
We look back at another stunning day from Rory McIlroy and see if any challenges can arise from behind on the final day.
The forecast had promised apocalyptic weather and in an attempt to dodge the thunderstorms the tournament organisers opted for a two tee start, with players going out in groups of three, and half the field starting at the tenth. But the storms never arrived and aside from a few showers which freshened up the greens in the morning, conditions remained pretty good all day.
Rory Rolls On
So far in 2014 Rory McIlroy has made a habit of spoiling his good efforts with one bad round, and having got to the weekend with a four shot lead, a Saturday slump was half-expected. But the slightly softer underfoot conditions and lack of breeze were ideal for the former world number one. He wasn’t flawless, but three bogeys were balanced out by three birdies and a superb brace of eagles at the sixteenth and seventeenth, to end the day with a commanding six shot lead.
The Rise and Fade of Fowler
Rickie Fowler was six shots off the pace at the start of the third day, but he had shown a liking for links golf at last year’s Open and he made a dramatic move up the leaderboard early on day three, conjuring up seven birdies to briefly go level with McIlroy. But a bogey at the fourteenth checked his momentum and he dropped another two shots as McIlroy pulled ahead again.
Still In It
His 65 on Friday remains the best round of the tournament so far but Dustin Johnson’s Saturday challenge was checked by three consecutive bogeys, although he had recovered that lost ground by the eighteenth. Victor Dubuisson also stayed in touch with a solid 68, the same score produced by Italian Edoardo Molinari who recovered from a poor Friday to keep alive his slim hopes.
Playing For Pride
Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose improved slightly on their Friday performances but surely have too much ground to make up, whilst Ryan Moore dropped four shots on the outward nine to ruin his chances, and Francesco Molinari suffered a similar slump to drop right out of contention. Former Open champion Darren Clarke seemed to thrive in the rain and shot an excellent 67 – the best round of the day.
It would be an astonishing collapse if McIlroy were caught on the final day, but there is a history of Sunday meltdowns in the Open and consistency has been a problem for him this year. So it could be worth taking a chance on Sergio Garcia who has looked relaxed and in control on all three days and who has also benefited from being in the chasing pack rather than out in front. He has a lot of ground to make up, but offers a bit of value at 18/1.