History in the mak­ing

Am­a­teur Dunne shares lead with Oosthuizen; Spi­eth a shot back at Bri­tish Open

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY DOUG FER­GU­SON

For a place drip­ping with cen­turies of history, St. An­drews got more than it could have wanted Sun­day.

Jor­dan Spi­eth punched his golf bag in frus­tra­tion af­ter a care­less bo­gey, per­haps sens­ing the Bri­tish Open was slip­ping away. Just like that, and be­cause this is what Spi­eth does in big mo­ments, he sal­vaged his bid for a Grand Slam. He made three straight birdies. He took 10 putts on the in­ward nine. And when he walked off the 18th green, he had a 6-un­der 66 and was one shot be­hind with one round left.

“I’m go­ing to play to win,” Spi­eth said. “I’m not play­ing for a place. I don’t want to place third to­mor­row. I want to win.”

But if there is history in the mak­ing at the home of golf, it no longer has to come from just Spi­eth.

Fans who filled the two-story grand­stand and watched from the tops of build­ings on Golf Place wit­nessed a mo­ment not seen at St. An­drews in 88 years — an am­a­teur in the lead go­ing into the fi­nal round of the Bri­tish Open.

Paul Dunne, the 22-year-old from Ire­land, rolled in putts like this was the pres­ti­gious St. An­drews Links Tro­phy for am­a­teurs in­stead of the old­est cham­pi­onship in golf. He played bo­geyfree for a 66 and shared the lead with for­mer Open cham­pion Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day.

Bobby Jones is the last am­a­teur to win the Bri­tish Open in 1930 when he came from one shot be­hind in the fi­nal round. He was the last am­a­teur to lead af­ter 54 holes three years ear­lier at St. An­drews, and he won the claret jug that year, too. Can it hap­pen again? “It’s sur­real I’m lead­ing the Open, but I can easily be­lieve that I shot the three scores that I shot,” Dunne said. “If we were play­ing an am­a­teur event here, I wouldn’t be too sur­prised by the scores I shot. It’s just lucky that it hap­pens to be in the big­gest event in the world.

“Hope­fully, I can do it again to­mor­row,” he said. “But whether I do or not, I’ll sur­vive ei­ther way.”

The way the weather-de­layed Open ended on Sun­day, ex­pect just about any­thing.

Oosthuizen, the last player to lift the claret jug at St. An­drews in 2010 and a run­ner-up at the U.S. Open last month, birdied three of his last five holes for a 67. Day is just as big of a threat. He shot 67 and shared the lead for the sec­ond straight ma­jor, and he has chal­lenged in four of them since 2011.

They were at 12-un­der 214, one shot ahead of Spi­eth with plenty of oth­ers that can­not be dis­missed Four­teen play­ers were sep­a­rated by three shots. Half of them were ma­jor cham­pi­ons, and there was yet another am­a­teur among them — 21-year-old Jor­dan Niebrugge of Ok­la­homa State.

Such an op­por­tu­nity might not come around again for Spi­eth. Only three other play­ers won the first two legs of the Grand Slam since the mod­ern ver­sion be­gan in 1960. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nick­laus and Tiger Woods only got one shot at it, and none ever started the fi­nal round of the Bri­tish Open so close to the lead.

And so it was Spi­eth, a 21-yearold Texan with an un­canny sense of oc­ca­sion, who brought the grey, old town to life in a mix­ture of sun­shine and rain.

He rolled in birdie putts on the 10th, 11th and 12th holes to share the lead. He saved par from the high grass on the 13th, stuffed his ap­proach to 4 feet for birdie on the 15th and made another tough par save on the Road Hole at the 17th.

A vic­tory would send him to the PGA Cham­pi­onship with a shot at the Grand Slam, and at worse put him in elite com­pany. Ben Ho­gan in 1953 is the only other player to cap­ture the Mas­ters, U.S. Open and Bri­tish Open in the same year.

AP PHOTO

Jor­dan Spi­eth plays from the sev­enth tee dur­ing the third round at the Bri­tish Open Golf Cham­pi­onship at the Old Course in St. An­drews, Scot­land, Sun­day.

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