Lytham St. Annes, England – Hoylake, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Dustin Johnson has been done in by a single drive at one major and by a penalty at another. Saturday at the Open Championship, it was a 3-hole stretch the did him in.
Johnson played in the final group with leader Rory McIlroy, and closed within two strokes after making birdie at the first. Johnson, the 2011 runner-up, made par on his next five holes.
The eight-time PGA Tour winner found sand off the seventh tee, and that led to a bogey. His drive on eight found rough, then he found sand with his approach.
Johnson walked off with another bogey there, and his problems weren't finished. He found the right rough on the par-3 ninth and failed to get up and down for par.
The three straight bogeys dropped him to minus-6, where he trailed by six strokes. He did manage to fight back with a three birdies on the back nine to finish at 9-under, but he is seven off the pace after starting the day four behind.
Johnson is in line for this third top-10 finish at the Open Championship, but he'd rather be in line for his first major championship title.
WOODS FRONT NINE ISSUES CONTINUE
He may have started on the 10th tee on Saturday, but it continued to be the front nine of the golf course that has done Tiger Woods in this week.
Woods birdied the first and ninth on Saturday to raise his total number of birdies on the front nine to three for the week. However, he double-bogeyed the second and triple-bogeyed the seventh after losing his drive in a gorse bush.
The three-time Open champion is 7-over par for the week on the front nine and 4-under par on the back nine. Granted, if you turned those six over-par holes into pars, he'd still be 13 strokes off the lead. In reality, Woods is 19 behind leader Rory McIlroy.
Woods' bigger fight on Sunday won't be to win the tournament, it will be to earn FedExCup points and Ryder Cup points.
He is 212th in FedExCup points, 333 points behind 125th place, which is where he needs to get to qualify for the playoffs. No player has been that far down the FedExCup standings at this point in the year and qualified for the playoffs.
Woods is 72nd in Ryder Cup points and trails ninth place Zach Johnson by 2632.636 points. Johnson currently sits in the last automatic qualifying spot.
One more streak Woods is looking to continue. He starts the final round tied for 58th. He has never finished outside the top-30, as a professional, at the Open Championship.
SCOTT QUIETLY SHARES SEVENTH PLACE
After getting a prime tee time the first two rounds, world No. 1 Adam Scott was bunched in the middle of the pack on Saturday, four groups behind the leaders.
The 2013 Masters winner started his third round with nine pars in a row, then he double-bogeyed the par-5 10th to fall to minus-1.
Scott, who bogeyed the final four holes to lose the 2012 Open Championship, inched his way back up the leaderboard with five birdies over his final eight holes.
He will enter the final round tied for seventh. Scott has finished second and third at the last two Open Championships, and has finished inside the top 10 in seven of the last 11 majors overall.
* The largest blown lead by a 54-hole leader at the Open Championship was a five shots. MacDonald Smith (1925) and Jean Van de Velde (1999) were the unlucky ones to lose their big leads.
* The largest come-from-behind win was in 1999 when Paul Lawrie rallied from 10 back to beat Van de Velde.
* McIlroy rallied from a 7-shot deficit earlier this year to win at Wentworth.
* The toughest hole in round three was the par-4 seventh, which averaged 4.32 strokes on the day. It has also been the most difficult through three rounds averaging 4.40 strokes through 54 holes.
* For the second day in a row, the par-5 fifth was the easiest hole as it averaged 4.61 strokes. Through three rounds, the par-5 10th has been the easiest hole as it averaged 4.64 strokes for the first three days.