Grace shoots first ever major championship round of 62
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