Today at the Open: Amazing Grace shoots 62, Spieth closes on Claret Jug

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It was a day that yielded the lowest ever score in a major championship and saw Jordan Spieth edge closer to the third leg of his Grand Slam...

If Branden Grace ends his career without one of golf’s four biggest prizes, he can be retire happily in the knowledge that he shot the best ever score in a major championship.

Alex Perry and James Broadhurst wrap up the best of the action on day three of the 146th Open Championship…

So what happened?

Saturday was all about Grace’s record-breaking round – and our man Steve Carroll had the best seat in the house.

There had previously been 26 63s in major history, with nine coming at the Open. Well, since you’re asking:

  • Mark Hayes, 1977 (Turnberry), 2nd round (7-under)
  • Isao Aoki, 1980 (Muirfield), 3rd round (8-under)
  • Greg Norman, 1986 (Turnberry), 2nd round (7-under)
  • Paul Broadhurst, 1990 (St Andrews), 3rd round (9-under)
  • Jodie Mudd, 1991 (Royal Birkdale), 4th round (7-under)
  • Nick Faldo, 1993 (Royal St George’s), 2nd round (7-under)
  • Payne Stewart, 1993 (Royal St George’s), 4th round (7-under
  • Rory McIlroy, 2010 (St Andrews), 1st round (9-under)
  • Phil Mickelson, 2016 (Royal Troon), 1st round (8-under)

Of the above, only Norman went on to win the tournament. While Grace’s efforts catapulted him into a tie for 3rd, if he is to repeat the Great White Shark’s feat, he’ll need a collapse of Norman proportions from Jordan Spieth.

The American put one hand on the Claret Jug with a third-round 65 that saw him end the third day three clear of compatriot Matt Kuchar, whose 66 was spoiled by a double-bogey six at 16.

Rory McIlroy’s chances faded with a 1-under 69, while Ian Poulter was the only player in the top 30 to shoot over par.

Strap in for Sunday. It could be another classic.

Feel-good moment of the day

Grace received hearty but nervous applause as he walked up 18. He may not have known he was about to make history, but the fans did, and his overshot approach was a cause for concern. He made no mistake with the lag, though and the rest, they say, is history.

Elsewhere, local favourite Tommy Fleetwood has turned his fortunes around after an opening 76. The in-form Open de France winner has gone 69-66 in the last two rounds to move up the leaderboard and provide his followers with something to cheer about.

Spare a thought for…

McIlroy and Poulter. They will seldom play a third round of a major championship in better conditions. Both fluffed their lines, much to the disappointment of the following masses.

Best shots of the day

The weight of history was on Grace’s shoulders when he stepped up for the most important putt of his career.

Looking like a lad who has to revise for his maths GCSE tomorrow, Canada’s Austin Connelly has quitely gone about his business so far at Birkdale. That was until this eagle at the par-4 2nd…

We saw two sides of Rory McIlroy on the par-3 4th. The Northern Irishman hit a woeful tee shot and then followed it up with an unbelievable chip shot.

Rickie Fowler came this close to an albatross on the par-4 5th…

Stats of the day

Photo of the day

The putt that made history.

Best dressed

Poulter may not have had the best day, but he was certainly looking good. The Englishman has made some controversial and, quite frankly, awful wardrobe selections in previous Opens, but has toned down his attire recently and generally gets it spot on. Just like today’s outfit…

Got dressed in the dark

If you are going to break a major record and have the moment beamed across the globe then you probably shouldn’t choose to wear a life jacket…

Quote of the day

This was just lovely from Grace: “I honestly had no idea that 62 was the record. But that makes it even sweeter.”

Betting update

It looks a straight fight between Spieth and Kuchar for the Claret Jug and I don’t fancy taking on the two-time major champion.

But neither do I want to back him at 1/2 either, as good a thing as he looks.

So here’s where we are going to try and get creative. There are some firms still offering three places. Let’s find third.

Hideki Matsuyama looks a decent option for me at prices around 28/1 (you’ll get a 1/5 of the odds if he grabs the podium spot).

The Japanese has got some major credentials and, crucially, knows how to go low in them. Struggling like nearly everyone else in the rain and wind of Friday, he limited the damage to a 72 and then came back today with 66 to sit just in the top 5.

A repeat of that is more than in his compass.

Connelly has impressed this week and a third round 66 added to efforts of 67 and 72 have him tied for third.

Finishing off a major is a massive ask for him but he’s been up to it so far and you can get him with some of the oddsmakers at 150/1.

Surely that’s worth a throwaway pound, to finish third, given what he’s produced so far?

NCG at the Open

For more from Royal Birkdale, check out our dedicated Open site.

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