The Open: Francesco Molinari crowned champion in Carnoustie thriller

The Open: Francesco Molinari crowned champion in Carnoustie thriller

The Open: Francesco Molinari crowned champion in Carnoustie thriller

Tiger Woods turned back the clock and briefly tied for the lead en route a 5-under 66 as players plundered Carnoustie in flawless conditions in the third round of the British Open on Saturday.

Woods shot a 66 on Saturday, and briefly saw his name sit atop the leaderboard following six birdies in his first 14 holes.

A two-under-par round of 69 on the Scottish links allowed him to finish on eight-under, two shots clear of the quartet of Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner.

They will not be playing together but with Woods tied sixth - four shots back - it is the closest Spieth has got to fighting out the last day of a major with a man he used to play imaginary games against as a kid.

"I kept moving them back", Woods said of the crowd. "I've had a career's worth in a few years", said Spieth, who admitted he found it "difficult" to hand over the Claret Jug when he arrived in Carnoustie on Monday.

In his first Open appearance since 2015, the 42-year-old showed glimpses of the magic that won him 14 majors, the sort of sparkling form that has eluded him since his last win at a major in 2008.

"To miss cuts in the Opens, it's never a nice feeling in any pro golfer and, as you get older, you know it's going to happen more often".

Spieth, who started the day in a three-way share of the lead with Kisner and Shauffele, crashed with a 76 to wind up equal ninth a further stroke back with United States countrymen Tony Finau (71) and last year's runner-up Matt Kuchar (72). Lyle's unbroken run started at Turnberry in 1977, when he also played as an amateur, before returning at St Andrews the next year in his first as a professional.

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Woods still walked away Friday realising he made it a little tougher on the weekend at Carnoustie if he wants to end a decade without winning a major.

Woods played the rest of his round in 1 under, finishing three back of playing partner Francesco Molinari. "It's been a few years since I felt like this".

Three players — including defending champion Jordan Spieth — are tied at the top of the leaderboard at 9-under par.

Another American Kevin Chappell is two shots off the lead with Italy's Francesco Molinari on six under and Woods another stroke back alongside Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Webb Simpson, Alex Noren, Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson. I can't lie about it, if I could pick one tournament in my life to win, it would be the Open.

Molinari holed a 5-foot birdie putt at No. 18 to complete a bogey-free round at 2-under-par 69.

"But I made that eagle on 14 and played the last four really solid, parred the last four, so it was a good bad round, I guess".

"I picked up where I left off last night", Rose said.

Rose's round matched the lowest score shot in an Open Championship at Carnoustie, a traditionally hard course on Scotland's east coast. "Even if it's windy, as long as it's not wet, I'll try and get myself back into it".

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