Branden Grace made history at Royal Birkdale as he recorded the first ever 62 at a Major in the third round of the 146th Open Championship. There had previously been 31 rounds of 63 in golf’s four biggest events – with ten of them coming at the Open – but nobody had managed to get to the magical 62 mark.On a calm and sunny day on Merseyside, Grace set about changing that as he made birdies on the first, fourth, fifth, eighth and ninth to turn in 29 before recording four pars. A good tee-shot set up a birdie on the par three 14th but when he failed to take advantage of the gettable par five next, his chances of a place in the history books took a major blow.
The South African bounced back brilliantly, holing a 35-foot putt on the 16th, and when he hit the 17th green in two and rolled his third to the side of the cup he just needed a par up the last. When his second into the 18th rolled off the back of the green the seven-time European Tour winner had some work to do, but he pulled out the putter again and left himself a two-footer which he duly made to take his place in golfing history.
Jordan Spieth will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the 146th Open Championship after firing a brilliant 65 on day three at Royal Birkdale. The American entered the day two shots clear of countryman Matt Kuchar but looked set to be overshadowed by Branden Grace who recorded the first 62 in Major Championship history before the leaders had teed off. The Ryder Cup team-mates followed that with an intriguing nip-and-tuck afternoon of golf that ended with Spieth at 11 under, three ahead of Kuchar and six shots clear of next nearest challengers Brooks Koepka and Austin Connelly. Grace is at four under alongside World Number Two Hideki Matsuyama.
All eyes will be on Spieth on today as he goes in search of a third Major Championship, a first Claret Jug and the third leg of the career grand slam. “A really solid round given the position I’m in starting the day,” said Spieth. “I’m extremely pleased, couldn’t ask for much more. I feel very confident in the way I’ve been striking my irons. If that continues and I feel that way as we get in our warm-up and then early in the round tomorrow then I can play more conservatively off the tee and take a lot of those bunkers out of play and that’s obviously very important”. R.A.