Yesterday, however, saw a sudden change, due not to sudden outbreak of moral fibre, but to a rash of better scoring. There were only a handful of scores in the 80s yesterday - in contrast to the first two rounds when there were no fewer than 90 such scores.Similarly, in the first two rounds, only seven players managed to break the par of 71. But by 4.30pm yesterday afternoon, there were already three, led by Craig Parry's magnificent 67 and Frank Nobilo's 70.
MANY FANCIED that Nick Price had the stoic temperament and the low-slinging iron shots to wthstand all the provocations that Carnoustie can devise. And indeed he was chugging along well at the start of the third round, with two pars and a birdie - and a mere eight over for the championship.
But his hopes of making a charge up the leaderboard were brought to a shuddering end by the deep rough on the par four fourth. He took three attempts to get it back on the fairway, eventually found the green in five, and left it with a triple-bogey seven to go back to 11 over par. He sustained no further damage, but is now too far adrift to add to the title he won at Turnberry in 1994.
ONE OF the best early scores came from The Man With No Name. Known on the official scorecard as "marker", because that's exactly what he was, he went round in 76 in the company of Martyn Thompson the last-place qualifier.
"Marker" is, in fact, Willie Milne, the professional attached to The Carnoustie Hotel. The former Walker Cup player had three birdies in a performance that some of the illustrious departed, like defending champion Mark O'Meara, would have happily settled for two days ago. Some of them would probably also have envied Milne his anonymity on the scoreboard.
THE 20-YEAR-OLD woman who raced on to the 18th green on Thursday in a black bra and panties and planted a kiss on Tiger Woods' cheek, was arrested and, in the immortal words of the Press Association, "held overnight". She works as a dancer in a bar in Aberdeen. Was her action a publicity stunt by any chance? A small hint came with reports that she was asking newspapers pounds 10,000 for topless photographs.
THE NATIONAL Association of Sadists and Rubberneckers, hoping for some filthy weather today to ensure a further crop of spectacular disasters, may be disappointed. The forecast for Carnoustie's final round is a rather wimpish: mostly sunny with a risk of light showers. However, the ghouls' cause is not totally lost. The wind will shift the south and south-east.
THIS JUST in from Spain: Sergio Garcia, humiliated with rounds of 89 and 83 to finish dead last in a field of 156, is calling a press conference on Monday. What is he going to do? Demand a recount?