Jordan Spieth brought the reality of an historic third straight major title closer to reality on Sunday as he moved into the joint lead on ten under at the Open Championship with overnight leader Dustin Johnson and South African Charl Schwartzel.
Johnson had been clinging to his one shot lead on ten under during the third round of the tournament before Spieth reeled off six birdies in 12 holes to move level and ignite the drama surrounding the 144th Championship.
South African Louis Oosthuizen briefly shared the lead at the top as the last winner at St Andrews drained three birdies down the front nine before a bogey and left the leaderboard tightly packed with eleven players within a shot off the lead.
Johnson, who three-putted on the final green to throw away the US Open to Spieth in June, was still looking for his first birdie on the Old Course that was providing soft birdie-friendly greens after early rain.
Shockingly two amateurs American Jordan Niebrugge and Irishman Paul Dunne were part of the group on nine under stalking the three men in front.
Australia’s Marc Leishman pulled off the joint round of the tournament so far with an eight under par 64 and is safely in the clubhouse while former champions Padraig Harrington of Ireland and Scotland’s Paul Lawrie were joined by South African, Aussies Jason Day and Steven Bowditch as well as Englishman Danny Willett one shot back.
Another South African Retief Goosen, a two-time US Open champion, eagled the fifth and was three-under through six holes, completing the men making for a fascinating leaderboard.
Early clouds and rain at the weather-affected championship, which will finish on Monday for only the second time in 155 years, turned to clearer skies and sunshine as fans finally enjoyed a full day’s action at the fabled Old Course. – Agence France-Presse