HOYLAKE – HARMAN SAYS ‘FOOLISH’ NOT TO ENVISION WIN ON SUNDAY
With a five-shot lead going into the final round of the British Open, Brian Harman says he would be “foolish not to envision” himself lifting the claret jug.
“I’ve thought about winning majors for my whole entire life,” he said. “It’s the whole reason I work as hard as I do and why I practice as much as I do and why I sacrifice as much as I do. Tomorrow, if that’s going to come to fruition for me, it has to be all about the golf. It has to be execution and just staying in the moment.”
Harman made bogeys on the first and fourth holes before picking up four birdies the rest of the way to shoot a 2-under 69 that allowed him to keep a big lead going into Sunday.
“Start was tough. Hit a couple loose shots. It was nice to turn around and have a nice back nine,” he said. “Just going to try to get a good night’s sleep and get out and play a really nice 18 holes.”
WHAT TO KNOW
— Harman builds a 5-shot lead at British Open.
— Tommy Fleetwood keeps alive English hopes of an Open champion.
— Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Smith rally to make British Open cut; Morikawa not so lucky.
— Justin Thomas goes from England to Minnesota to save his season.
— R&A changes rake pattern in pot bunkers.
HARMAN WITH 5-SHOT LEAD GOING INTO FINAL ROUND
Brian Harman overcame a slow start to shoot a 2-under 69 and take a five-shot lead into the final round of the British Open.
Seeking his first major title, Harman made bogeys on the first and fourth holes before picking up four birdies the rest of the way to post a score of 12-under 201.
He will play the final round alongside Cameron Young, the runner-up at St. Andrews last year. Young birdied the final hole for a 5-under 66 that included only one bogey. He was at 7 under for the tournament.
One shot back from Young was Jon Rahm, who shot 63 in a Royal Liverpool course record at the Open.
Playing in the final pairing with Harman on Saturday, home-crowd favorite Tommy Fleetwood carded even-par 71 to fall seven shots off the lead.
MCILROY STUCK IN NEUTRAL IN 3RD ROUND
Rory McIlroy started the third round with only 10 players in front of him, boosting his hopes he could work his way into the mix at the British Open.
With one hole left in his round, there are still 10 players ahead of him.
McIlroy got off to a great start with three birdies in five holes — he missed birdie chances on the other two holes from 10 and 12 feet — and then went without a birdie for the next 12 holes. So many others are taking on a rain-softened Royal Liverpool. McIlroy is in neutral.
Brian Harman still has a five-shot lead after a birdie on the 12th. The difference is the players chasing him. Jon Rahm shot a Hoylake-record 63 and posted a 6-under 207. Cameron Young and Jason Day also were at 6 under and had low-scoring holes ahead of them.
FITZPATRICK — BROTHER OF US OPEN CHAMP — HAS HIMSELF A DAY
Don't look twice. That's two English players named Fitzpatrick on the leaderboard at the British Open. And the U.S. Open champion is looking up at his younger brother.
Alex Fitzpatrick had the round of his life at Royal Liverpool. He finished with two birdies for a 65 that moved him to 4-under par for the tournament. Brian Harman is still leading at 9 under. Alex Fitzpatrick is at least in range for now. And his big brother is not terribly far behind.
Matt Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Open last year at Brookline for his first major. He had a 67 and was 2 under for the tournament. Alex turned pro last year after twice playing in the Walker Cup while at Wake Forest. He got into the British Open through 36-hole qualifying.
What are their parents to do? Easy. Matt Fitzpatrick told them to go watch his kid brother because they've seen enough of him in the British Open.
RAHM ENTERS THE ROYAL LIVERPOOL RECORD BOOK
Jon Rahm did all he could to get himself back into the mix at the British Open. All it required was the lowest round ever at Royal Liverpool in its 13 times hosting the Open.
Rahm birdied seven of his last 10 holes for a 63, by two shots the lowest score at Hoylake in the Open. The course was the only one on the modern rotation that had not yielded lower than a 65 until Saturday.
Rahm holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 closing hole right about the time Brian Harman teed off with a five-shot lead. Harman begins at 10-under par. Rahm's 63 put him at 6 under.
Rahm made his move with four straight birdies around the turn. His finish was sharp, too. He chipped to 8 feet for birdie on the 15th, holed a 35-foot birdie putt on the 16th and then finished with one final birdie.
RAHM ON A ROLL
Jon Rahm has finally gotten on a roll at the British Open.
The world No. 3 has made four straight birdies from No. 9 and moved into a tie for fourth place on 3-under par, still seven shots off leader Brian Harman. Rahm is 5 under for his third round.
Harman arrived at Royal Liverpool 2 1/2 hours before the scheduled start time of his round at 3.30 p.m. local time.
His overnight lead of five strokes is still intact.
Rory McIlroy is about to set off on the first hole. He is 1-under par for the tournament.
UP-AND-DOWN 3RD ROUND FOR SCHEFFLER
No. 1-ranked Scottie Scheffler’s run of consecutive top-12 finishes is in jeopardy after a 1-over-par 72 in the third round of the British Open.
Scheffler, who made the cut right on the number, was 4 over for the tournament in a tie for 65th early on Saturday.
The American player had a round that included five bogeys and four birdies.
Scheffler has finished 12th or better in his last 19 tournaments this season, with his last win coming in March at the Players Championship.
Brooks Koepka also had a 1-over-par 72 to stay at 4 over for the tournament. His round included a double bogey on the par-3 ninth and consecutive birdies on the last two holes.
Patrick Cantlay missed a birdie putt from inside 10 feet on the 18th to finish with a round of 4-under 67. He was at 1 under for the tournament, nine shots behind leader Brian Harman.
FOWLER 1ST TO GO LOW IN 3RD ROUND
Rickie Fowler was the first player to make a move in the third round of the British Open, going into red figures after having made the cut on the number.
Playing in the first group out, Fowler had two birdies on the front nine and two on the back in a bogey-free 4-under-par round of 67.
He was at 1 under par for the tournament and sat nine shots behind leader Brian Harman.
Seeking his first major, Fowler was runner-up to Rory McIlroy the last time the Open was played at Hoylake in 2014.
Patrick Cantlay also moved to 1 under after making four birdies and no bogeys through his first 17 holes.
Xander Schauffele was at 2 under through 11 holes after three birdies on his front nine and another on the back.
BREAK OUT THE BRELLIES!
The third round of the British Open begins with steady rain and fairways dotted with various umbrellas at Royal Liverpool. The gallery was as robust as ever for the northwest of England, and there was plenty to watch on Saturday morning.
Brian Harman started the day with a five-shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood. They don't tee off until the middle of the afternoon.
Rickie Fowler and Robert MacIntyre are in the lead group. They're followed immediately by the likes of Adam Scott and Scottie Scheffler, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Cantlay.
Scheffler had to birdie the 18th from a bunker on Friday evening to make the cut. He has yet to finish worse than 12th all year.