Clarke’s third straight round in the 60s helped him to one-stroke lead
after 54 holes; McIlroy’s 74 dropped him from the leader board.
Timeline By Ryan Herrington
tage of the change in the air, making birdies on three of
his last six holes to post a 68 and jump from T- 19 to T- 3.
7: 34 a.m
A thick British accent gives away the nationality of a
volunteer greeting spectators as they come into the
main entrance at Royal St. George’s, particularly when
his baseball cap fails to do so. The man is wearing a
2008 U. S. Open hat from Torrey Pines. Asked if he
attended that event too, he shakes his head no. “I
traded for [the hat] earlier this week with a bloke,”
he admits, giving away the green British Open cap he
received for working this week. “Don’t tell anyone, but
I had two of those.”
weather. A young girl is carrying a large square golf um-
brella and a plate of fish and chips while simultaneously
trying to follow her father and brother walking ahead
of her near the food court. In such a congested area,
however, the girl keeps getting stuck, literally, as her
umbrella prevents her from squeezing between people
without dropping lunch.
3: 14 p.m.
Last o; the first tee during the third round, Darren Clarke
provides a hint at what’s in store for him when he birdies
the par- 4 first, taking the outright lead at five under.
4: 53 p.m.
Phil Mickelson makes a par on the 18th hole for
a third-round 71, ultimately leaving himself five
strokes off the lead but with arguably his best
chance yet to win the Open championship. As he
walks off to the scoring trailer, a lone male fan continually screams “Phil! Phil! We love you Phil!” The
piercing yell, rising several decibels above any other
noise, continues for more than a minute, prompting
one U. K. journalist to say, “Makes one embarrassed
to be from England right now.”
10: 10 a.m.
“It sounded like a good idea,” says James Little of
his decision a few months back to agree to be a hole
marshal at Royal St. George’s. “Today, I’m not so sure.”
Little’s uncertainty stems from the fact that since
reporting for duty on the par- 4 fourth hole, along with
the other members of the nearby North Foreland GC,
rain and winds gusting to 30 miles per hour have been
unceasing. Little’s glasses are spotted with water and
his jacket soaked. “It could be worse,” Little says. “I
could be playing in this.”
3: 35 p.m.
To the chagrin of the more than a dozen groups that
played their entire rounds in the miserable weather,
the skies are brightening and the rain mercifully
begins to let up.
Finding a distracted spouse reading a book while her
husband watches play is hardly a rarity at the British
Open, but a potential first occurs near the 17th green
when a women takes out a Kindle from her backpack
and gets lost in thought.
10: 34 a.m.
Indeed, it’s not just Little su;ering on the fourth hole.
Not until the fourth twosome of the round arrives
does any player make a par on the converted par- 4
hole, despite the tee box being moved up 25 yards to
a slightly more manageable 470 yards. By day’s end,
the fourth will weigh in with the day’s highest stroke
average ( 4.93).
3: 45 p.m.
For all intents and purposes, Rory McIlroy’s British Open
comes to an end when he hits his drive on the 14th
hole out-of-bounds en route to a double-bogey 7 and a
third-round 74. No one is more disappointed than the
U. S. Open champion. “You’ve got half of Kent on your
left and I hit it right,” McIlroy agonizes after the round.
“It was a bit disappointing.”
As Clarke walks toward the green on the 18th hole, moments away from finishing o; a third-round 69 and taking a one-shot lead into Sunday, he receives thunderous
applause from the grandstands … except from one young
boy sitting in the top row who instead is fascinated with
a fake bird positioned on the railing to help keep the gulls
away. The boy’s father finally has had enough. “Stop
playing with that and clap for the man,” he says.
From the unexpected spectator department: Among
those watching McIlroy make his double bogey from
behind the 14th green is actor Bill Murray.
Spectators could learn a thing or two from how caddies
juggle their umbrellas and assorted items in the wet
4: 40 p.m.
Having gone one over for the round during the worst
of the weather, Rickie Fowler takes the biggest advan-
7: 15 p.m.
What had once been a bunched field has become far
more spread out. All 71 players were within seven shots
of the lead to start the day, but now only 21 are within
that mark, with just five players four strokes o; Clarke’s
five-under pace. Meanwhile, 12 players sit at par or
better compared to 31 entering the third round.