Norman under early pressure
Sunday 20 July 2008
Greg Norman's two-shot overnight lead was quickly cut in half in the final round of the Open Championship at a windswept Royal Birkdale today.
Norman, at 53 looking to become the oldest ever major winner by five years, found a greenside bunker with his second shot to the 450-yard opening hole and failed to get up and down.
Playing partner Padraig Harrington, aiming to become the first European player to successfully defend the title since James Braid in 1906, was 50 yards short of the green in two but pitched within inches of the cup to save par.
Korea's KJ Choi had also started with a bogey to drop back to five over par, and England's Simon Wakefield was another to drop a shot at the first to lie six over.
In addition to the three tees moved forward for the third round officials reduced the 10th by 27 yards to 381 yards.
The winds, which reached over 45mph yesterday, were expected to stay just below 40mph throughout the final day, but still bad enough, of course, to blow any title contender off course.
The clubhouse lead was currently held by David Howell, Robert Karlsson and Ernie Els on 12 over par, Howell shooting the best round of the day with a 67 courtesy of four birdies and an eagle on the 17th.
Els carded a round of 69 to become the only player so far to record two rounds below 70, but all the damage was done by a back nine of 45 in his first round 80.
Norman's lead disappeared on the second hole when he again found rough off the tee, missed the green with his approach and missed from four feet for par.
And the Australian was soon one behind when he bogeyed the third as well, Harrington's opening three pars enough to lead on his own for the first time.
Wakefield then joined Norman in second place with a birdie from four feet on the fifth, and Bristol amateur Chris Wood was going superbly too, the 20-year-old picking up a birdie on the seventh to lie four off the lead.
Latest in Sport
Norwich 2 Liverpool 3 match report: Liverpool go five points clear of Chelsea at top of Premier League table on day Luis Suarez hits goal number 30
Jose Mourinho: Graceless reaction of Chelsea manager a sad effort to hide his own flaws
Luis Suarez and the 'Easter miracle': Liverpool striker shows both sides as he reaches 30 Premier League goals but play acts yet again
David Moyes says Manchester United passed 'brilliantly', despite 2-0 defeat to Everton
Liverpool: Three remaining fixtures - can they remain on top of the Premier League table?
- 1 Disabled people are trapped in assessment 'nightmare' by PIP benefits regime, says Dr Stephen Duckworth
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Queen turns 88: David Bailey captures another side of the Queen in birthday portrait
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
An open letter to Nigel Farage: you may smile, but I am not seduced
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Abdullah Deghayes: My son was the martyr of a just cause, says father of British teenager killed in Syria conflict