History in the mak­ing

Am­a­teur Dunne shares lead, Spi­eth one shot be­hind

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - 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.

Rain and wind dis­rupted play at the Open this week­end, forc­ing the en­tire fi­nal round to to­day for the first time since 1988.

AP PHOTO

Ire­land’s Paul Dunne plays from the 18th tee dur­ing the third round at the Bri­tish Open Golf Cham­pi­onship Sun­day.

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