Parnevik keeps Tiger at bay

The 126th Open: World No 1 tames Troon to equal course record but Swede leads field as Clarke falters
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The Independent Online
On Thursday the wind howled, yesterday the Tiger prowled. It was Woods' turn to roar, a round of 64, seven under, matching the lowest in an Open at Troon. It took the Masters champion from near the bottom of the pile on to the leaderboard. All the action at the head of the field was still to happen, however.

Darren Clarke, who led by two overnight, saw his advantage crumble over the inward half as Jesper Parnevik shot a 66 to reach 11 under par. The Swede has a two-stroke lead over the Northern Irishman, who three-putted the last in his 71. Woods is eight back.

Clarke will be hoping to become the first from the Emerald Isle since Fred Daly at Hoylake 50 years ago to win The Open, but Parnevik could be the first from his country to lift the silver claret jug. Fred Couples, who had an unadventurous day except for holing his six-iron approach shot at the 11th for an eagle, was on six under, alongside Justin Leonard.

"I felt I could do whatever I wanted out there," the 32-year-old Parnevik said. He knows all about Sundays at The Open after losing out to Nick Price at Turnberry three years ago. "I recognise all the feelings I had in '94," he added. "They are identical. The same rush and the same roars."

Hopefully, for him, it will not be identical. In '94, he bogeyed the last as Price passed him. Then, famously, he did not look at the leaderboard. "I usually do," he said. "It was just something strange that happened then. Tomorrow, Darren and I can keep an eye on each other." Parnevik is familiar with things strange, from his retro-clothing to wearing glasses with strobe lighting and eating volcanic ash to cleanse his system.

But while Clarke is assured of a place in the European Ryder Cup team at Valderrama, and is on the promise of a Ferrari 355 incentive bonus, Parnevik is not a member of the European Tour and will have to rely on one of Seve Ballesteros's wild cards. Instead, Parnevik has been a consistent performer on the US Tour, where he has recorded seven top-five finishes this season.

After Parnevik birdied the first two holes, Clarke responded with four birdies in six holes. He pitched to three feet at the third, got up and down from a bunker at the fourth, almost holed out with his putter from off the green at the sixth and converted his tee shot to 10 feet at the Postage Stamp. He led by four and could afford a smile. It would not last over Troon's grindingly hard back nine. "When I made four birdies on the front nine and Darren was still ahead," Parnevik said, "I told myself anything could still happen on the back nine."

The Swede is the master of his section of the course. He has now played it in one under, two under and two under. Parnevik holed from 15 feet at the 10th and, although he dropped a shot two holes later, was in fine scrambling mode. When he followed a birdie-four at 16 by hitting his three- iron tee shot at the short 17th to three feet, the Swede was in the lead. "I saw that Darren was losing shots and decided to go for it on the tee," he said.

Clarke's first dropped shot came at the 11th, where he had driven into the gorse, and the next was at 13th. Here the 28-year-old was forced to declare the ball unplayable after a wild second and he holed a decent putt for a bogey. He had to do the same at the next, but after just missing the green and chipping poorly at the 15th, his third shot had gone in five holes. "I made some mistakes, but I also made some good putts to save par," Clarke said. "It was a struggle but I will go out and do my best to catch Jesper tomorrow."

Without his two disaster holes of the previous two days, Woods would have been 10 under instead of three under, an interesting topic of conversation to discuss with the Duke of York when they met after his round. For the second day running there was only the lightest of breezes on the links and the American matched Greg Norman's score when he charged into the play-off eight years ago, although the Shark's effort was then worth eight under par.

"Without my two bogeys, I could have shot a 62," Woods said. With the course drying out on the second day of unbroken sunshine, Woods was able to utilise his power to greater advantage with the rough losing its tangle- factor. He hit only seven fairways. "It is hard to hit the fairways out here because they are so narrow.

"I made my share of putts from within 15 feet, but that's what you have to do to go low," Woods added. He had only 24 putts in his best score in a major championship. Woods will approach the final round as if he can win, but Parnevik thought he would have to break 60 to be a threat.

Woods went to the turn in 32. His drive at the seventh cannoned off five- year-old Vanessa Black in the gallery, part of a record Troon crowd of 40,000. After Woods holed the birdie putt, he gave the ball to a rules official to give to his unfortunate victim, who returned to the course after medical attention.

On his nightmare holes, Woods saved par from eight feet at the 10th and, after tangling with more gorse, got away with a bogey at the 11th. The 21-year-old's power brought an eagle at the 16th and then he chipped in at the 17th.

"I didn't quite hit the spot was I aiming for on the bank, but it worked out OK," Woods said. His seven-iron to the last found a bunker on the left, but for the third day running he one-putted the last green, this time to save par. His inward 32 was later equalled by Stephen Ames, who came with a 66 to take him to four under with Eduardo Romero.

Norman again failed to take advantage of the chances he had created and after a 71 the Shark will need to be charging with the Tiger today.

Complete third-round scores

(GB or Irl unless stated)

* denotes amateur)

202

J Parnevik (Swe) 70 66 66

204

D Clarke 67 66 71

207

F Couples (US) 69 68 70

J Leonard (US) 69 66 72

209

E Romero (Arg) 74 68 67

S Ames (Trin) 74 69 66

J Furyk (US) 67 72 70

210

T Woods (US) 72 74 64

R Allenby (Aus) 76 68 66

L Westwood 73 70 67

211

P Lonard (Aus) 69 70 69

T Watson (US) 71 70 70

212

S Appleby (Aus) 72 72 68

J Lomas 72 71 69

G Norman (Aus) 69 73 70

C Strange (US) 71 71 70

213

I Woosnam 71 73 69

P Mickelson (US) 76 68 69

P Harrington 75 69 69

E Els (SA) 75 69 69

S Maruyama (Japan) 74 69 70

P O'Malley (Aus) 73 70 70

M James 76 67 70

M Calcavecchia (US) 74 67 72

T Kite (US) 72 67 74

214

F Nobilo (NZ) 74 72 68

C Montgomerie 76 69 69

R Goosen (SA) 75 69 70

J Haas (US) 71 70 73

215

S Jones (US) 76 71 68

D A Russell 75 72 68

B Langer (Ger) 72 74 69

D Duval (US) 73 69 73

D Love III (US) 70 71 74

D Tapping 67 66 78

216

R Davis (Aus) 73 73 70

V Singh (Fij) 77 69 70

J Maggert (US) 76 69 71

J Kelly (US) 76 68 72

B Faxon (US) 77 67 72

J M Olazabal (Sp) 75 68 73

T Purtzer (US) 72 71 73

A Cabrera (Arg) 70 70 76

217

J Coceres (Arg) 76 70 71

A Magee (US) 70 75 72

M McNulty (Zim) 78 67 72

218

P Stewart (US) 73 74 71

J Nicklaus (US) 73 74 71

G Clark 74 72 72

R Boxall 75 71 72

T Lehman (US) 74 72 72

M Bradley (US) 72 73 73

R Russell 72 72 74

219

J Spence 78 69 72

G Turner (NZ) 76 71 72

P Senior (Aus) 76 70 73

P Teravainen (US) 74 72 73

S Stricker (US) 72 73 74

J Payne 74 71 74

N Faldo 71 73 75

220

P-U Johansson (Swe) 72 75 73

J Kernohan (US) 76 70 74

M O'Meara (US) 73 73 74

W Riley (Aus) 74 71 75

T Tolles (US) 77 68 75

*B Howard 70 74 76

P Mitchell 75 69 76

222

B Andrade (US) 72 72 78

223

C Pavin (US) 78 69 76

224

P McGinley 76 71 77

To the fore: The best rounds of the day

Hole

Par

Yards

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Out In Total

4 4 4 5 3 5 4 3 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 5 3 4 36 35 71

364 391 379 557 210 577 402 126 423 438 463 431 465 179 457 542 223 452 3,429 3,650 7,079

Woods

Parnevik

Ames

Allenby

3 3 4 4 4 4 3 3 4 4 5 3 4 3 4 3 2 4 32 32 64

3 3 4 5 4 4 3 3 4 3 4 5 4 3 4 4 2 4 33 33 66

4 3 4 4 3 5 4 3 4 4 4 4 4 2 3 5 2 4 34 32 66

3 4 4 4 3 5 3 4 4 4 3 4 5 2 4 4 3 3 34 32 66

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