Published: Sun, July 22, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Spieth aims to retain Open title but Woods lurks

Spieth aims to retain Open title but Woods lurks

Unlike last year's edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

Jordan Spieth of the U.S., left, and Kevin Chappell of the United States finish the third round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Saturday July 21, 2018.

Kevin Kisner has dropped out of the lead at the British Open after a double bogey and a bogey in his first three holes.

Woods, who won back-to-back Opens himself in 2005 and 2006, is one of them, as he sits in a group of players four shots back at five-under after thrilling huge galleries with a round of 66 on Saturday. "It's going to be fun".

Kisner had the outright lead going down the 18 but pushed his second shot at the par-four 18 into the Barry Burn and made a double bogey.

"That was good, that was good", he said, with just a touch of relief. Woods, who opened the day at even par after two rounds of even par, is now officially in contention for the championship. "It's OK, a lot better than I thought walking up", he told his caddie, Michael Greller, when he got there and Spieth not only got a good contact on it with an iron and using "a baseball swing" as he described it, his shot found the middle of the green to set up another birdie chance from 35 feet.

It is also the first time he has led at any point of a major since 2012, when he shared the 36-hole lead at the PGA Championship.

"We were on the range kind of talking it over, and I said, 'Do we like driver again?' " Spieth said.

Tiger Woods was on the hunt for one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history as he took the lead in the final round of the Open on Sunday. Spieth, who finished tied for the lead at 9 under.

Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

Suddenly, a leaderboard glittering with Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Zach Johnson and, for a while, Rickie Fowler, also had the name "Woods". A birdie at 10 was handed back at 12 before further shots picked up at 13 and 14 saw him get to -5. He got off to a good start with birdie on the fourth and another on the par-five sixth, "Hogan's Alley", for the first time this week.

Spieth is the reigning champion of the event and certainly is in prime position to reclaim the Claret Jug this year with a solid performance Sunday.

Of the five players separated by three shots, only Spieth has experience winning a major. Yet the presence of an in-form Woods on the greens of a major lifted the crowd.

"The fact that I won previous year, I think helps sleep a little bit", Spieth said.

"I played pretty similar to this at the Players Championship".

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