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British Open 2022 ranking breakdown: Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland wake up St. Andrews with 66 in round 3

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Moving Day at the 150th Open Championship saw the top of the standings take on a whole new shape as Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland managed to match 66 to climb to the top at 16 under. Starting the day three shots behind 36 hole leader Cameron Smith, the two players in the penultimate group put on a show for the huge galleries surrounding the Old Course in St. Andrews.

Every signing for the Under-6 rounds, it was Hovland who threw the first punch as the young Norwegian birdied four straight out of the front nine. Connecting from distance on the greens, the touch that eluded Hovland for the majority of 2022 appears to have returned. Moving on to 4-under 32, it was the par-4 10th that proved to be a pivotal moment for both.

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From the fairway bunker, McIlroy had the championship shot as he tossed his second from the sand and into the bottom of the cup, good for an unlikely holey eagle. Hovland was able to convert his birdie opportunity, and the two continued to trade shots on the back nine as each headed for a 200 over 54 holes.

“It was kind of like match play there. … I knew I just needed to play good golf, and I’m really happy that I was able to shoot a bogey-free round today,” said Hovland.

McIlroy and Hovland will head into the final round with a four-stroke advantage over Smith and Cameron Young, who struggled on Saturday and sit at 12 under. While they both have an outside chance to lift the Claret Jug, the Golf Champion of the Year is much more likely to come from the latter pair.

Only four players have ever sat under 16 on 54 holes at Open Championships. Although all have won the Claret Jug, that stat won’t hold on Sunday as either McIlroy or Hovland – if not both – will be short.

Here is the ranking breakdown before the final round of the 150th Open.

T1. Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland (-16): It has been eight years since McIlroy won a major championship, and Sunday will be his best chance to get back into the winner’s circle on such a stage in some time. The Northern Irishman was nearly flawless on Saturday, navigating the Old Course with the perfect blend of aggression and discipline. The whole crowd – and maybe the world – is in favor of McIlroy capturing the No. 5 major. Whether that adds pressure or propels him into the history books will be answered soon enough, though Rory has been talking all week about keeping a clear head and staying to himself so the moment won’t win out. not on him.

“It’s going to take a lot [of composure to win]. It’s good that I can play with Viktor again; we had a great day there. It’s a comfortable couple for both of us,” McIlroy said after the round. “So I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been knocking on the door for a while now, and this is the best chance I’ve had in a long time. I just need to stay in my little world for one more day, and hopefully I can play golf that’s good enough to do the job.”

T3. Cameron Smith and Cameron Young (-12): From the start, you knew it was going to be a battle for Smith as he inexplicably got three putts to bogey on his first hole. Unable to take advantage of the Old Course’s easier front face, the Aussie turned par and fired three straight pars to launch his inside nine. If he doesn’t come back to win this, most will reconsider his decision on the par-4 13th that ultimately led to a double bogey. Still, with so much firepower he has, if he can putt on Sunday like he did the first two days, he may have an outside chance.

T5. Scottie Scheffler and Si Woo Kim (-11): The world No. 1 had his opportunities to claim this championship, but the putter simply let him down. His 3-under 69 felt about as bad as Scheffler could have made as he missed many short efforts on the greens. Now five shots off the lead, Scheffler must still believe he can win this thing if he can get his entire game to cooperate.

7. Dustin Johnson (-10): In total, it was a 1-under ride; however, like Scheffler, it was very much a “what could have been” type of day. The two-time major winner fired out of the gate birdie on two of his first three holes and began to climb the rankings when he made another pair on the turn. That’s when trouble started for Johnson as he carded three bogeys down a four-hole stretch with his putting troubles rearing their ugly head. He probably won’t add the major number 3, but crazier things have happened.

T8. Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick and Adam Scott (-9): Fleetwood is no stranger to falling low this weekend at majors as he shot a sizzling 63 in the final round of the 2018 US Open. Not quite a record-breaking day, but it was a big effort from the Englishman, who will need more of the same Sunday if he wants to pull off a miracle. He hoped the leaders wouldn’t stray too far from him, but making up seven shots might be asking too much.

“Whether [the leaders] don’t stray too far, it’ll be good to go tomorrow feeling like we have a chance and see if we can build momentum on the front nine,” Fleetwood said. “Yeah, that would be very cool and very special to be able to try again like in the home stretch on a Sunday at the Open.”

T11. Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay (-8): The Old Course’s back nine plays like the toughest set, and it has tripped Spieth every day. Now without a bogey and 9 under in the first half of the week, Spieth struggled on the back nine, where his Open Championship aspirations will fail. Considering his play at the Scottish Open and the way he competed at St. Andrews in 2015, Spieth should feel a sense of dismay.

T13. Kevin Kisner, Shane Lowry, Tyrrell Hatton and two others (-7): He needed a birdie on the 18th hole Friday just to make the cut, but now Kisner finds himself in the top 20. The biggest move on Saturday, the Georgia Bulldog fired out of the gate birdie on his three first holes and finally turning in 6-less than 30 years. By adding another 10, he would continue to play his final seven holes evenly. If you had told Kisner he would sign for a 7-under 65 – the day’s round – in advance, he would have been happy, but the composition of his round could actually lead to some disappointment because he let many scoring chances go astray. .

T18. Bryson DeChambeau, Francesco Molinari, Russell Henley and three others (-6): It was an entertaining morning for DeChambeau as he ditched his plans to play conservative and let the big dog eat. Pulling the driver early and often, the 2020 US Open champion was able to step up as he had 6 under the day through his first 13 holes. Failing to take advantage of either par 5, DeChambeau’s double bogey on No. 16 ended any significant move up the leaderboard.

“I don’t think you know how to fully play this golf course. Every day is different,” DeChambeau said. “It presents a unique golf course every time the wind picks up or doesn’t pick up. It’s just different. I don’t know how to explain it either. You can’t really conquer it. You can’t never really control it.You just have to go out there and try to take what it gives you and play the spots in the greens where you can and two putts where you have to.

Rick Gehman is joined by Greg DuCharme to recap Saturday’s action at the Old Course. Follow and listen to The First Cut on Apple podcast and Spotify.

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