Lytham St. Annes, England – For the second straight major championship, Graeme McDowell will find himself in the final pairing on Sunday.
Last month, McDowell went out last with Jim Furyk at Olympic Club in pursuit of his second major title and second U.S. Open. He prevailed at Pebble Beach two years ago.
On that Sunday, McDowell had 18 feet on the final hole to match Webb Simpson at 1-over par. His putt never threatened the cup and he missed on another major celebration.
On this Sunday, McDowell will be 4 behind Adam Scott at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. It's certainly not the best position to be in, but it's also not the worst.
"I can't expect to win this week, but what I can expect is to compete if I do the right things," said McDowell. "I'm playing with the leader, that's all I can ask from myself."
McDowell does have more major seasoning than the leader.
Scott will be in the final pairing for the first time on Sunday in a major. McDowell will be doing for the second time in a row and third time in 3 years.
"I can draw on my experience at The Olympic Club a few weeks ago," said McDowell. "This is special to me."
BACK-TO-BACK FOR ZACH
The last player to win on the PGA Tour the week before the British Open, then go on to hoist the Claret Jug was Lee Trevino in 1971.
Zach Johnson has an outside chance to match Trevino's feat.
He did everything he could to get in that spot on Saturday.
Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, fired the low round of the day on Saturday with a 4-under 66. He is tied for fifth place with Ernie Els at 5-under par.
"I don't think I could play any more aggressive than I did today and I am not going to change my approach tomorrow," said Johnson, who amassed six birdies and two bogeys in round three. "I'm hitting lots of greens and that's what I want to continue to do in the final round."
Johnson's last birdie was a short one on the 18th.
"It was a good way to end and hopefully I can take the momentum from 18 into tomorrow," said Johnson.
Johnson has won not only the John Deere Classic, but also the Crowne Plaza Invitational. He finished second on the PGA Tour at The Players Championship and The Heritage.
ACE FOR ANIRBAN
Little-known (in the U.S., that is) Anirban Lahiri of India recorded the first ace of this year's Open Championship on Saturday.
At the 149-yard, par-3 ninth, Lahiri hit a 9-iron right of the flagstick, then watched the slope of the green and the spin pull it right into the center of the cup.
"It was a similar yardage as yesterday's pin and I was in between clubs again," explained Lahiri. "Yesterday I went with a wedge and hit it in the trap. Took the 9-iron, hit it a little softer.
"Got a really friendly member's bounce and it started trickling towards the hole. You get excited at that point in time. When it goes in, everything stops, the crowd explodes.
"It was very special."
Lahiri made the turn at 1-under for the day and for the championship. He parred his next eight holes, but a bogey at the last gave him an even-par 70. Lahiri stands at even for the tournament.
Lahiri earned his first Asian Tour victory earlier this year at the SAIL-SBI Open, and he's reveling in his first appearance at The Open Championship.
"I think I've come out with the right attitude," said Lahiri. "I just came here to have fun and I'm really enjoying myself, whether I'm in one of those dreadful traps or a hole-in-one like that. It's just been a special week for me."
* Adam Scott has 8 PGA Tour titles and 8 European Tour titles.
* The last Australian to win a major championship was Geoff Ogilvy at the 2006 U.S. Open.
* Tiger Woods has never come from behind to win any of his 14 major championships.
* Ernie Els registered top-3 finishes the last two times Royal Lytham & St. Annes hosted the Open Championship. He is tied for fifth place in search of his second Claret Jug.
* Mark Calcavecchia, the 1989 Open Champion, had a 1-under 69 on Saturday and is tied for 10th at minus-2.
* When Martin Laird shot an 82 on Saturday, he took last place and set up quite an interesting second pairing out on Sunday. It will be five-time Open Champion Tom Watson, and the 1995 winner, John Daly.
* The hardest hole through three rounds has been the par-4 third, which has played to an average of 4.47.
* The easiest hole through 54 holes has been the par-4 13th, which has played to an average of 3.84.