TROON (SCOTLAND) • Royal Troon bared its teeth yesterday as the third day of The Open got under way in difficult conditions and one of the early victims was dual Major winner Jordan Spieth.
The American golfer teed off at 8.55am (local time) and carded four birdies in his first seven holes to get back to level par. But things then got ugly as he approached the turn with the weather deteriorating.
The wind shifted overnight to come out of the west, putting it from left to right on the inward nine. With gusts up to 50kmh, the world No. 3 bogeyed the ninth and 10th holes. He double-bogeyed the 11th and then bogeyed No. 15.
At the top, American Phil Mickelson and Swede Henrik Stenson were engaged in a tough battle for supremacy at press time.
Texan Spieth finished on 72, leaving him with a five-over total of 218.
3RD RD SCORES (SELECTED) (USA unless stated, par 71)
210 Steve Stricker 67 75 68
212 Tyrrell Hatton (Gbr) 70 71 71
213 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp) 71 72 70, Gary Woodland 69 73 71, Webb Simpson 70 72 71, Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 69 72 72, Rory McIlroy (Nir) 69 71 73
2ND RD (SELECTED)
132 Phil Mickelson 63 69
133 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 68 65
135 Soren Kjeldsen (Dan) 67 68, Keegan Bradley 67 68
138 Andrew Johnston (Gbr) 69 69, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 68 70, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 72 66, Tony Finau 67 71, Bill Haas 68 70
139 Matt Kuchar 71 68
MISSED CUT AT 146 (SELECTED)
147 Ernie Els (Rsa) 71 76
154 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 71 83
The 22-year-old has now failed to go under par in any of his last 10 rounds at Majors.
Later, he suggested the critics were being "unfair" to him and urged everyone to be less negative about his performances.
"It's been tough, given what I think has been been a solid year. I think had last year not happened, I'd be having a lot of positive questions," he said.
"Instead, most of the questions I get are comparing (my performances) to last year and, therefore, are negative because it's not to the same standard. That's almost tough to then convince myself I'm having a good year.
"I think that's a bit unfair to me but don't feel sorry for me. I'll still be okay. But I would appreciate if people would look at the positives... it seems a bit unfair at 22 to be expecting something like that all the time.
"I've been hitting the ball great, I'm just really struggling on the greens this week. I'm struggling to read them and then, because of that, I have a tough time hitting a nice, solid putt on a line and being confident about it.
"I missed four putts maybe inside of five feet today, that's not normal, a couple from two feet... that's normally something that doesn't happen."
He was not alone. Danny Willett, this year's Masters champion, racked up four bogeys on the front nine and two more on the back.
Three birdies enabled him to finish the round at 74 but that was not enough to keep his score from ballooning to 220.
Twice Masters champion Bubba Watson, playing alongside Willett, collected five birdies but also suffered three bogeys and a triple bogey in his 72.
That took him to 218 and, like compatriot Spieth, one shot worse than his starting score.
World No. 1 Jason Day continued his travails with a 71 that left him at 214. The Australian had four birdies going out but after four bogeys coming home, his chance of a second Major triumph is evaporating.
World No. 3 Rory McIlroy's hopes of making a charge up the leader board were undermined by a nightmare start.
The Northern Irishman bogeyed the par-four first after finding the rough to the right with his tee shot. Following a par at the second, he then contrived to drop another shot at the par-four third after three-putting.
He finished on 73 for a total of 213.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
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