East Lothian, Scotland (Sports Network) - The third round at Muirfield in 2002
was the story of the championship. Wind and rain pushed many challengers out
Those that survived the brutal weather, or finished before it arrived, ended
the third round near the top of the leaderboard.
The same can't be said for this third round. The wind was blowing all day, but
never reached 20 mph and the sun was shining for most of the round. The
difficulty was again the condition of the course
Water was added to the greens overnight, but the fairways were firm, and
faster than fast. This is how fast the fairways were - Charl Schwartzel drove
the green on the 448-yard par-4 15th.
Here's what some players had to say after the third round of the 142nd Open
- SERGIO GARCIA, who was blown into contention in 2002 at Muirfield, and made
a similar move today with an early 68: "Obviously, I needed to do something
like that today to have a slight chance. I've always said, as an individual
tournament, this is definitely my favorite. And it would be nice to win, but
hopefully it won't be the only one."
- PAUL LAWRIE, who drove home on Friday figuring he missed the cut and had to
race back late Friday when the cut line moved to 8-over par: "I didn't think
7-over had a chance, never mind 8-over, so I went home. I don't think I've
ever done that before in my career and thankfully I was just up the road. I
can't believe no one from overseas went home at 8-over. It just shows how
tough the course is."
- RICHARD STERNE, who carded a 68 in the first group out matched the low
round of the day: "I found it obviously a lot better today. The greens were
more receptive and the flag positions were a lot more accessible. The greens
were a little slower and more receptive, so they've definitely done a lot of
watering there. There's a couple of tricky pin positions if you miss them in
the wrong position."
- THONGCHAI JAIDEE, like Lawrie left Muirfield on Friday figuring he had
missed the cut, but then scrambled back in time for the third round after he
moved inside the cut line: "Luckily the flight to Thailand was full and I was
on the waiting list."
- ERNIE ELS, the defending champion is eight shots off the pace, but feels as
though he still has a chance: "I'm trying to make a move, but I'm shooting
myself in the foot, as well. But I'm not totally out of it, I believe."
The Sports Network