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  • The Open, Round Three

Tiger & G-Mac pursue super Scott at Lytham

ESPN staff
July 21, 2012 « McIlroy, Westwood & Harrington stall on moving day | Chartbeat test »
Tiger Woods is five behind leader Adam Scott going into the final round © PA Photos
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ESPN will have live updates and exclusive coverage from the Open Championship this week - with reporters at Royal Lytham & St Annes to bring you all the insight

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Adam Scott will carry a four-shot lead into the final round of The Open as he bids to become the first Australian to lift the Claret Jug since Greg Norman in 1993.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell will be Scott's playing partner in the final group on Sunday; both will have Tiger Woods breathing down their neck as he hunts a 15th major.

Scott, who has Woods' former caddie Steve Williams on his bag, hit a 68 on Saturday to travel to an imposing total of 11-under. Brandt Snedeker, the halfway leader, joins McDowell at seven-under.

Woods, six-under, put flamboyance to one side and again stuck to his methodical strategy, using his irons from the tee and prioritising accuracy over distance on a track with 206 bunkers and nightmarish rough.

He made an unfortunate start, missing a brace of six-foot par putts at holes one and three as his challenge threatened to fizzle out. However, downing a mammoth 40-footer for birdie at six sparked him into life, and he picked up further shots at the par-five seventh - where, for once, he took a driver from the tee - and the ninth, having fired his opener to within five feet.

A serene back nine received an unwanted jolt when he let a short par putt drift by at 15, and he ensured the mistake was not repeated by emerging unscathed from a similar distance two holes later. He signed for a 70 with a tap-in par on 18.

While Snedeker crawled to a 73 - he has never converted a halfway lead on the PGA Tour - Scott did not let his focus drift. He was flawless with the long putter, grabbing three birdies and surrendering just one stroke.

World No. 1 Luke Donald is one-under © PA Photos
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McDowell has battled hard all week, consistently finding an extra gear whenever in danger of being sucked backwards, and his reward is the opportunity to banish the ghosts of his near-miss at the US Open, where he finished second last month.

After an indifferent front nine, he soared with birdies at three of the last six holes, the best of which came at 14 via a monstrous putt. With stiff winds predicted for Sunday, McDowell - who claimed the US Open in 2010 - must fancy his chances of reeling in Scott.

Ernie Els (68) is five-under alongside Zach Johnson (66) - and the two veterans, both major winners, will also be scenting blood.

World No. 1 Luke Donald, one-under after a 71, had a major setback at the sixth, taking two shots to escape a bunker on his way to a double-bogey - a blow that significantly checked his progress. From the seventh onwards, he had one bogey and one birdie amid a hatful of pars.

Ian Poulter (three-over) had two double-bogeys in the final four holes of his 73. Bubba Watson (two-under) was five-under for the day through 13 holes, before the wheels came off on 14, which he bogeyed, and 15, where he had a double bogey.

Paul Lawrie had a 76 to tumble back to two-over, where he is joined by Padraig Harrington.

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