Saturday at the British Open began with low scores long before the leaders even arrived at the course. And even as the big names teed off, the red numbers kept flying. More than a dozen players spent the day within two strokes of the lead, and the result was one of the wildest days in recent major championship history. By the time it was all over, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner stood atop the leaderboard at -9, but they had plenty of company just behind them.
Let’s begin with the huge birdie putt that announced, for the first time in years, that Tiger Woods would be a part of the weekend conversation at a major. (All times Eastern)
10:12 a.m.: Woods rolls in a long birdie putt to get to three back of the lead. He’s feeling it, and all of a sudden, all those “Tiger will never win again!” pronouncements seem a little rickety.
10:18 a.m.: Defending champion Jordan Spieth begins his weekend with a smooth and easy eagle at the first hole, driving the green and sinking the easy putt to pull within a stroke of the lead.
10:22 a.m.: Woods birdies the 10th hole. He’s coming.
10:34 a.m.: Woods birdies the 11th, his third in a row, and he’s now just one stroke off the lead.
10:44 a.m.: Kevin Chappell holes his third straight birdie to tie for the lead at #3.
10:47 a.m.: Rickie Fowler, your current “best never to win a major,” gets to five under with a birdie on the 4th hole.
10:52 a.m.: Matt Kuchar, who lost a heartbreaker last year to Spieth, birdies the second hole to get to five under and one stroke off the lead. Redemption at hand?
10:55 a.m.: Spieth ties for the lead at -6 with a birdie on the fourth hole.
11:00 a.m.: The leaders, Kevin Kisner and Zach Johnson, both at -6, finally tee off.
11:01 a.m.: Fowler’s run screeches to a halt when he goes out of bounds on the sixth. He’ll go on to triple-bogey the hole and fall four strokes off the pace. Ouch.
11:11 a.m.: And welcome Tommy Fleetwood to the party! He drops a birdie putt on 2 to get to -6 and tie for the lead.
11:12 a.m.: Woods has an eagle putt on 14 for the outright lead. He slides it just past, but he birdies the hole to tie for the lead. That’s right: Tiger Woods is tied for the lead in a major once again. Woods hasn’t held the lead at the end of a major day since the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah, where he was tied after 36 holes.
11:34 a.m.: Pat Perez closes to within one of the lead with a birdie on 4, erasing an earlier bogey.
11:37 a.m.: Kisner drains a birdie putt on 3 to retake the outright lead at -7.
11:39 a.m.: Woods bogeys 16 to drop two off the pace.
11:47 a.m.: Perez birdies 5 to move one back of Kisner.
11:49 a.m.: Zach Johnson bogies 4 to drop to 5-under, 2 back of Kisner.
12:05 p.m.: Rory McIlroy cards back-to-back birdies at 6 and 7 to get to 5-under, two strokes back of Kisner.
12:06 p.m.: Xander Schauffele makes his third straight birdie at No. 7 to grab a share of the lead with Kisner.
12:06 p.m.: Tiger Woods scrambles for par on 18, carding a 5-under 66, putting him two back of co-leaders Kisner and Schauffele.
12:14 p.m.: Zach Johnson, struggling, makes an out-of-nowhere 100-plus-footer for eagle on 6 to move to 7-under.
12:15 p.m.: Kisner, Johnson’s playing parter, birdies 6 to move to 8-under.
12:27 p.m.: After making a 100-plus-footer at 6, Johnson drops another bomb at 7 to grab a share of the lead.
1:25 p.m.: The leaderboard settles as the wind rises … at least, until Spieth birdies 16 to grab the outright lead at -9.
1:32 p.m.: Johnson goes bogey-double bogey to drop to -5, four strokes off Spieth’s lead.
1:44 p.m.: Schauffele birdies 15 to pull into a tie with Spieth atop the leaderboard.
1:48 p.m.: Spieth finishes off a round of 65 to head to the clubhouse in a tie for the lead at -9.
1:54 p.m.: Kisner taps in for a birdie on 14 to grab a share of the lead.
2:01 p.m.: Zander Lombard has dropped well off the pace, but he nonetheless carded a magnificent eagle 2 on the 18th hole, one of the finest shots of the day.
2:10 p.m.: Schauffele slides a par putt just past the hole on 17, dropping him out of the lead.
2:23 p.m.: And immediately afterward, Schauffele bounces back with a birdie on 18 to get back into a tie for the lead.
2:25 p.m.: McIlroy bogeys two of the last three holes to drop to -5, four off the pace.
2:33 p.m.: Johnson drops another stroke, sliding a par putt past the hole on 17, and sits at -5.
2:44 p.m.: Kisner taps in for par at the 18th to wrap up the day with a share of the lead. He’s held at least a share of the top spot all three nights at the British Open. How will he handle the pressure of a major Sunday? We’ll find out soon enough.
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