SOUTHPORT, England — The Latest from the British Open (all times local):
Players are going low — real low — at Royal Birkdale, and the leaders haven’t even teed off yet.
With the first 20 players in — about a quarter of the weekend field — there were three 65s and three 66s posted. Only three players were over par for the day, and the worst of those was a 73 by Danny Willett.
Branden Grace was the lowest of all, making a run at the major championship record of 63. Grace shot 29 on the front side and was 6 under after lipping out a birdie putt on the par-5 15th hole.
Dustin Johnson was also having a good round, shooting 30 on the front side with four birdies and no bogeys.
Jordan Spieth, the leader midway through the Open, is scheduled to tee off at 3:55 p.m.
On an average Saturday morning, Gregg Pettersen would be working a busy shift in the pro shop at Royal Birkdale.
This time, he was playing in front of thousands at the British Open.
Pettersen, a club professional of 15 years at Birkdale, got a call at around 9.50 p.m. local time on Friday that he’d be the marker in the first group of the third round, alongside Shaun Norris of South Africa.
He was nervous on the first tee, not quite believing how many spectators were watching him. But he quickly settled down. Pettersen and Norris shook hands and put their arms around each other’s shoulders as they walked the 18th fairway, and the 38-year-old Pettersen tapped in for bogey for what he thought was a round of 5 over.
He had his best friend, Paul, on his bag and said the experience was “a bit surreal.”
After a round of media interviews, he was back working in the shop.
The first weekend score is in the books at the British Open — and it’s a good one.
Shaun Norris, playing with a marker after making the cut on the number, shot a 5-under-65 on Royal Birkdale, setting the pace for what could be a day of low scoring.
In near perfect conditions, the South African journeyman made five birdies against no bogeys to move to even par in the tournament.
Norris finished several hours before Jordan Spieth and others on the leaderboard tee off. After a blustery day on Friday, the early players found the course to their liking, with lots of birdies on the board.
Jordan Spieth faces a good forecast and a long wait to take his two-shot lead into the third round of the British Open.
Spieth and Matt Kuchar did not tee off until shortly before 4 p.m. at Royal Birkdale.
After a second round that featured 30 mph wind and bursts of heavy showers in the afternoon, Saturday’s forecast was more dry conditions and only a mild wind off the Irish Sea. Only 10 players were under par at the start of the third round.
Spieth was at 6-under 134. This is the 12th time he has been atop the leaderboard at the end of a round in a major, including the final rounds of the Masters and U.S. Open that he won in 2015.
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