Grace shoots first ever ma­jor cham­pi­onship round of 62

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Bran­den Grace made his­tory yes­ter­day when he be­came the first player ever to shoot a round of 62 in a ma­jor in the third round of the Bri­tish Open at Royal Birk­dale. There had been 31 rounds of 63 in the pre­vi­ous 441 ma­jor cham­pi­onships, with 10 com­ing in the Bri­tish Open in­clud­ing Phil Mick­el­son and Hen­rik Sten­son in last year’s Bri­tish Open at Troon, but never a 62. The South African’s eight-un­der-par round, fea­tur­ing eight birdies and no dropped shots, saw him rocket up the leader­board to four un­der par over­all, two be­hind leader Jor­dan Spi­eth’s half­way to­tal of six-un­der.

Grace, who nar­rowly made the cut as he sat at four over par at the tour­na­ment’s half­way stage, also broke Jodie Mudd’s course record of 63, set in the fi­nal round of the Open in 1991. Grace had five birdies on the front nine to go out in just 29 be­fore three more com­ing home, at the short 14th and back-to­back at 16 and 17.

He risked miss­ing out on his­tory when he sent his ap­proach to the 18th long, but a fine putt from the very back of the green al­lowed him to res­cue par. The 29-year-old from Pre­to­ria, ranked 35th in the world, has pre­vi­ously had four top-five fin­ishes at ma­jors, in­clud­ing a third place at the PGA Cham­pi­onship in 2015.

He equalled the record for the low­est ever round on the Euro­pean Tour when he shot a 12-un­der-par 60 at Kings­barns in his 2012 vic­tory at the Alfred Dun­hill Links Cham­pi­onship.

Mean­while, England’s Tommy Fleet­wood made the most of per­fect early con­di­tions to shoot a four-un­der­par 66 in the third round of the Bri­tish Open at Royal Birk­dale yes­ter­day.

Fleet­wood, who hails from the coastal town of Southport and used to sneak onto the Birk­dale course as a young­ster, had four birdies and a fine ea­gle at the par-5 15th as he climbed to one over par in to­tal.

Play­ing along­side fel­low English­man Justin Rose, the pair­ing at­tracted a large fol­low­ing around the course in be­nign, mild con­di­tions that were in stark con­trast to the mis­er­able weather on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Rose fin­ished fourth here as a teenage am­a­teur in 1998 but has not been able to get into con­tention this week-he shot a 69 to creep to four-over.

The pleas­ant con­di­tions en­abled some low scor­ing else­where in the morn­ing, with South Africa’s Shaun Nor­ris shoot­ing a five-un­der 65 to go back to level par over­all af­ter go­ing out on his own in the first tee-time at 9:20am (0820 GMT ). Jor­dan Spi­eth leads the cham­pi­onship at six un­der par, two shots ahead of fel­low Amer­i­can Matt Kuchar. They tee off in the fi­nal pair­ing at 3:55pm. England’s Ian Poul­ter, run­nerup here to Padraig Har­ring­ton in 2008, and cur­rent US Open cham­pion Brooks Koepka, are both three-un­der. —AFP

SOUTHPORT: South Africa’s Bran­den Grace plays a tee shot dur­ing the third round of the Bri­tish Open Golf Cham­pi­onship, at Royal Birk­dale, Southport, England, yes­ter­day.—AP

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