Tiger Woods has not played in the Open since 2015 due to injury and the last of his 14 major wins was back in 2008, but the conditions were reminiscent of his most recent Open victory at Hoylake in 2006 and allowed him to employ a similar conservative approach. He started his move with a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 9, followed with short birdie putts on the next two holes and with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 14th, he put his name atop the leaderboard.
The Open Championship is back in Scotland as Carnoustie hosts the 147th edition of the oldest major.
On a day when Woods electrified the gallery with a 66 that pulled the 14-major victor within four strokes of the lead, Spieth, with three majors already, showed again that he is the man to beat of the current generation.
He completed a full set of pars on the outward half to trail Woods by one at the turn after the 14-time major champion birdied the fourth and sixth to hit the top of the leaderboard and set the pulses racing among the record crowds for an Open at Carnoustie. "If it gets tricky, or even if it doesn't, one good round can go a really long way".
Tiger Woods surged into contention on the third day of The Open, shooting his lowest round at a major since 2011.
"I've got a bit of experience at this", he said. I just needed one more birdie before the sixth hole.
Fellow Englishman Justin Rose failed to make a run on his front nine and dropped a shot at the fifth to slip to three under.
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Woods still walked away Friday realising he made it a little tougher on the weekend at Carnoustie if he wants to end a decade without winning a major.
Francesco Molinari hung tough all Sunday at a windy, hard Carnoustie, opening the round with 13 straight pars and then birdieing 14 and 18 to fire a flawless 2-under 69.
Rickie Fowler opened with two birdies in four holes and was one shot out of the lead with a par 5 coming up at No. 6. "I'd certainly rather play boring golf, but missing in the right places, I kind of take a pride in". I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around and hit it left and I was trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could.
Currently, there are 71 players at 1 over par or better (T50).
"I really didn't feel like I really made a bad swing until 18".
"It can improve a little bit, but all aspects of the game got better today".
"It was massive to take advantage today", Rose said after the lowest score of his career in any major. So I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I'm just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning.