The 2017 OpenChampionship got insane on Saturday at Royal Birkdale as Branden Grace shot a 62, Dustin Johnson almost matched him, and Jordan Spieth took a 3-stroke lead into Sunday's final round over Matt Kuchar. He widened his lead on the final hole, sinking a birdie putt from the edge of the green, while Kuchar missed one that was closer.
Kuchar starts the closest to Spieth and would extend the string of first-time major champions to eight if he can win.
After his US Open win at Erin Hills last month, Koepka is in with a chance of becoming the first player since Spieth two years ago to triumph in back-to-back majors.
With his challengers coming and going, Spieth enjoyed a three-shot advantage over US Open champion Brooks Koepka (72) and Ian Poulter, whose dogged even-par round of 70 has the Englishman dreaming of going one better than his second in 2008 at Birkdale.
Photo Branden Grace at the end of Saturday's round, in which he became the first man to shoot a 62 in a major championship. Phil Mickelson played his first British Open at Royal Birkdale in 1991 as the U.S. Amateur champion.
The bad news for the chasing pack is that Spieth has converted five of his last 36-hole leads into victories.
With so much history and the Claret Jug beckoning, the young Texan is keen not to get ahead himself, with memories of his 2016 Masters meltdown - when he squandered a five-shot lead on the back nine on Sunday to lose - still vivid. "It's trying to go up against Royal Birkdale and put on the best show you can against the golfcourse".
"I should have hit a club to take all the bunkers out of play but hit a three iron which was the worst club". "I'm just going to stand up there and hit every shot to the best of my ability".
But the 41-year-old Swede, whose rental house was burgled during his first round on Thursday, joined Johnson on three under par after carding six birdies and a solitary bogey in a 65. Under a pewter sky, Kuchar and Spieth reached the 18th green with their approaches, then began walking toward grandstands filled mostly with British fans - who greeted the two Americans as if they were their own.
He was also in contention until the last three holes with a double bogey, bogey, double bogey placing him 11 shots off the Spieth pace.
Phil Mickelson lipped out for a 62 in the first round of last year's Open at Royal Troon, and eventual victor Henrik Stenson shot a memorable 63 in the final round en route to victory.
Kuchar survives pressure at the top: The headliner is (obviously) Spieth, but how about Kuchar's 66 on Saturday? If I get help, great, if I don't, I don't. You're learning and it all goes into the mental process. A courageous birdie followed at the par-5 17th and with Spieth failing to convert his chance of a four as the sun broke through once again, but Kuchar was unable to match birdies with Spieth on the 18, giving his fellow American a little extra breathing room Sunday afternoon.
Some of the other top players in the world jumped up the leaderboard on moving day, none more so than World No.1 Dustin Johnson, who shot a 64 to move to -3.
"That was only going to make it play harder than what it was playing this morning". "I think I'm in a position where it can be very advantageous", he insisted. Only Nicklaus got three legs more quickly, in 16 majors.
"There was a lot of quality out there and I was happy to see that". If not, I can sleep during the day tomorrow; we don't tee off until pretty late.