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Sunday, July 22, 2012 - Page updated at 09:30 p.m.
Adam Scott leads British Open by 4 shots entering final round | Golf
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
The New York Times
LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England — It would have been quite a talking point, perhaps even quite a distraction, if Adam Scott and Tiger Woods had been dueling for the claret jug in the final Sunday pairing at this British Open.
In a British summer full of nasty weather, it would have been intriguing to see how frosty the salutations might have been between Woods and Steve Williams, his former caddie. Williams, who parted on less-than-collegial terms with Woods last year, runs interference and reads putts for Scott these days.
But American Woods, despite making a 60-foot birdie putt on No. 6 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, could not sustain the necessary momentum on the back nine to generate that edgy grouping and the British tabloid headlines that would have resulted.
Scott, the cosmopolitan Australian who remains on friendly terms with Woods, certainly did his part: shooting a 2-under-par 68 that might have been lower if some of his nicely weighted putts for eagles and birdies had rolled a shade farther.
At 11 under, Scott has a four-shot lead heading into Sunday's final round and will be paired with Graeme McDowell, the Northern Irishman whose 67 Saturday put him at 7 under and in a tie for second with American Brandt Snedeker (73).
Snedeker will be paired with Woods (70), who is in fourth place at 6 under.
Strong winds are forecast for Sunday.
"A four-shot lead doesn't seem to be very much this year on any golf tournament that I've watched," Scott said. "That doesn't mean a lot. The good part is if I play a solid round of golf tomorrow, it will be very hard for the others to beat me and that's all I'm thinking about."
Kyle Stanley (70) of Gig Harbor was tied for 14th place at 1 under.
Scott attacked the par-5 seventh and 11th holes, giving himself eagle putts and settling for birdies. He also sank a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 8. After hitting his second shot on No. 17 into a bunker shaped like a smile on the right of the green, he came out grinning after hitting a wedge from a low stance that stopped within 2 feet of the pin.
Despite benign conditions, Scott and McDowell are the only two men to have broken par in each round. But McDowell, who won the 2010 U.S. Open, has something his fellow 32-year-old lacks: a major trophy.
"I'm sure myself and Adam will be experiencing slightly different emotions tomorrow," McDowell said. "But it will all boil down to the same thing. It will boil down to pressure. It will boil down to being scared, probably of failing more than winning.
"I can't really relate to what Adam is feeling because he's a hell of a player, and he's been a hell of a player for a very long time. He's got the unfortunate burden of never having won a major championship."
Second-round leader Snedeker had many a misadventure in the third round and said, "I'm not happy with it at all, by any means. But those two birdies late (on Nos. 16 and 18) salvaged what could have been a horrific round into a pretty awful round."
Leaderboard After Saturday's third round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Player Scores Par Adam Scott 64-67-68 — 199 -11 Gr. McDowell 67-69-67 — 203 -7 Br. Snedeker 66-64-73 — 203 -7 Tiger Woods 67-67-70 — 204 -6 Zach Johnson 65-74-66 — 205 -5 Ernie Els 67-70-68 — 205 -5 T. Olesen 69-66-71 — 206 -4 Bill Haas 71-68-68 — 207 -3 Thomas Aiken 68-68-71 — 207 -3
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