For the first time in the 142-year history of the Open Championship, play began on Saturday with groups of three on both the first and tenth tees. It was an unusual move meant to ensure play would be completed without major delays from potential storms moving through the area. The storms didn’t present too many problems for the field, but the same can’t be said of Rory McIlroy, who extended his lead once again.
McIlroy faced some challenges during Day 3 at Royal Liverpool, notably from Rickie Fowler, who made a hard charge up the leaderboard with seven birdies in his first twelve holes, tying McIlroy’s -12 lead at one point. However, as Fowler dropped some untimely shots down the stretch, McIlroy kept grinding, with eagles on the par-5 16th and 18th earning him a massive six-stroke advantage.
With 18 holes to go, here’s a look at the standings headed into Sunday at the Open.
1. McIlroy; -16
2. Fowler; -10
T3. Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson; -9
5. Victor Dubuisson; -8
6. Edoardo Molinari; -7
T7. Matteo Manassero, Adam Scott, Jim Furyk, Robert Karlsson, Charl Schwartzel; -6
It seems like one of the few questions left for this Open isn’t whether Rory will complete the third leg of the career grand slam, but rather whether he’ll surpass Tiger Woods‘ record winning margin of eight shots.
Fun fact: Woods’ victory at the Old Course of St. Andrews that year was the completion of his career Grand Slam, his fourth major title just months before his 25th birthday. McIlroy turned 25 in May, and for all the career comparisons to Woods, appears prepared, now more than ever, to match his performance on the course to his unlimited potential.
Granted, nothing is complete just yet, but with how good McIlroy has been, we may be witnessing history made by this time tomorrow.