Lytham St. Annes, England – The third round at Muirfield in 2002 was the story of the championship. Wind and rain pushed many challengers out of contention.
Those that survived the brutal weather, or finished before it arrived, ended the third round near the top of the leaderboard.
The same can't be said for this third round. The wind was blowing all day, but never reached 20 mph and the sun was shining for most of the round. The difficulty was again the condition of the course
Water was added to the greens overnight, but the fairways were firm, and faster than fast. This is how fast the fairways were - Charl Schwartzel drove the green on the 448-yard par-4 15th.
Here's what some players had to say after the third round of the 142nd Open Championship:
- SERGIO GARCIA, who was blown into contention in 2002 at Muirfield, and made a similar move today with an early 68: "Obviously, I needed to do something like that today to have a slight chance. I've always said, as an individual tournament, this is definitely my favorite. And it would be nice to win, but hopefully it won't be the only one."
- PAUL LAWRIE, who drove home on Friday figuring he missed the cut and had to race back late Friday when the cut line moved to 8-over par: "I didn't think 7-over had a chance, never mind 8-over, so I went home. I don't think I've ever done that before in my career and thankfully I was just up the road. I can't believe no one from overseas went home at 8-over. It just shows how tough the course is."
- RICHARD STERNE, who carded a 68 in the first group out matched the low round of the day: "I found it obviously a lot better today. The greens were more receptive and the flag positions were a lot more accessible. The greens were a little slower and more receptive, so they've definitely done a lot of watering there. There's a couple of tricky pin positions if you miss them in the wrong position."
- THONGCHAI JAIDEE, like Lawrie left Muirfield on Friday figuring he had missed the cut, but then scrambled back in time for the third round after he moved inside the cut line: "Luckily the flight to Thailand was full and I was on the waiting list."
- ERNIE ELS, the defending champion is eight shots off the pace, but feels as though he still has a chance: "I'm trying to make a move, but I'm shooting myself in the foot, as well. But I'm not totally out of it, I believe."