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Live notes: Round 4
Just keep refreshing this page all day long, as our group in Southport will keep you abreast of all the happenings on what may be an historic Sunday at Royal Birkdale.
SCORECARDS: Norman | Harrington | Poulter
All times Eastern
DOUBLE THE PLEASURE: With his win Sunday, Padraig Harrington becomes the 16th player to win the Open Championship in consecutive years.
|Old Tom Morris||1861,'62||Prestwick|
|Young Tom Morris||1867,'68,'69||Prestwick|
|Jamie Anderson||1877,'78,'79||Musselburgh, Prestwick, St. Andrews|
|Bob Ferguson||1880,'81,'82||Musselburgh, Prestwick, St. Andrews|
|J.H. Taylor||1894-95||Royal St. George's, St. Andrews|
|Harry Vardon||1898-99||Prestwick, Royal St. George's|
|James Braid||1905-06||St. Andrews, Muirfield|
|Bobby Jones||1926-27||Royal Lytham, St. Andrews|
|Walter Hagen||1928-29||Royal St. George's, Muirfield|
|Bobby Locke||1949-50||Royal St. George's, Troon|
|Peter Thomson||1954-56||Royal Birkdale, St. Andrews, Hoylake|
|Arnold Palmer||1961-62||Royal Birkdale, Troon|
|Lee Trevino||1971-72||Royal Birkdale, Murifield|
|Tom Watson||1982-83||Royal Troon, Royal Birkdale|
|Tiger Woods||2005-06||St. Andrews, Hoylake|
|Padraig Harrington||2007-08||Carnoustie, Royal Birkdale|
-- Mark Spoor, 2:21 p.m.
IT'S ALL IN THE WRIST: Less than a week ago, Padraig Harrington thought he may not even play the Open Championship because of a wrist injury. Now, he'll hoist the Claret Jug again after a stirring and remarkably consistent 69 on Sunday gave him a four-shot victory. Ian Poulter finished second while Greg Norman and Henrik Stenson tied for third. -- Mark Spoor, 1:41 p.m.
EXCLAMATION POINT: It's pretty much game over at the Open Championship. Defending champion Padraig Harrington just holed a five-foot putt for eagle on the 17th hole after an incredible approach with a fairway wood and has a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter at 3 over with one to play. Anything better than a quadruple bogey 8 on the 72nd hole would make Harrington the 16th player in Open history to win the tournament in consecutive years. -- T.J. Auclair, 1:30 p.m.
TOUGH FINISH, BUT A GOOD WEEK: Anthony Kim didn't finish the final round the way he wanted -- three straight bogeys -- but his closing 75 still earned him a top-10 finish. In his first Open Championship. Kim, who has won twice this year and tied for 26th at the U.S. Open, was just three shots off the lead until that bogey-bogey-bogey finish. See his scorecard. -- Melanie Hauser, 1:15 p.m.
ANOTHER BIRDIE FOR HARRINGTON: Ian Poulter might be the leader in the house at 7 over, but his chances of winning are getting slimmer by the minute.
With a birdie on No. 15 -- his second in three holes -- defending champion Padraig Harrington has just moved to 5 over and is three shots clear of Greg Norman, who is the only challenger remaining on the course.
More bad news for Poulter -- Harrington still has the par-5 17th hole left, a hole he's played in 2-over par this week with a bogey, an eagle and a birdie. -- T.J. Auclair, 1 p.m.
POULTER TURNS UP THE HEAT: Flashy dressing Ian Poulter holed a 12-foot putt on the 72nd hole for par and a 1-under 69 to post a 7-over total. That gave him the clubhouse lead. Now he can sit back, relax and watch as contenders Padraig Harrington, Henrik Stenson and Greg Norman try to combat the wind on the way in and better, or tie, Poulter's mark. -- T.J. Auclair, 12:43 p.m.
PHIL HEADED HOME: Phil Mickelson is headed home after two weeks of playing in Great Britain. The world No. 2 tied for 38th at last week's Scottish Open and was in the top third of the field here with a 14-over 294.
"I didn't play to the level I would have liked," he said. "I thought I hit a lot of good shots, but I struggled on the greens."
Mickelson admitted he hit the ball better than he ever has in the blustery winds, but didn't putt well. And, he said, this was the toughest Open he's played in.
"I think consistently day-in and day-out, it's as challenging a wind as I've ever played for four days," Mickelson said. "We had times like that at Murifield in '02 when it would come up even stronger, but consistently this has been one of the hardest ones. "This is a great test. This is what the R&A wants, to test players in adverse conditions and have a a course that's set up fair enough." See his scorecard. -- Melanie Hauser, 12:36 p.m.
PADDY BACK IN FRONT: After holing 15-foot birdie putt dropped on No. 13, Padraig Harrington reassumed sole-possession of the lead at 6 over. Ian Poulter dropped a shot after missing a putt inside of five feet at No. 17 to fall one shot behind Harrington, while Greg Norman made bogey at No. 13 to fall into a four-way tie for third with amateur Chris Wood, Henrik Stenson and Anthony Kim. -- T.J. Auclair, 12:30 p.m.
STAYIN LOOSE: Jim Furyk didn't think too much about it until after he hit his bunker shot at the 18. Then he saw he was three back of then-leaders Greg Norman and Padraig Harrington. Close enough to hang around for a potential playoff.
At 10-over for the tournament, Furyk finished up, did a few interviews -- "Keep it short," officials said. "He's keen to get to the range." Well, not really. Furyk was going to the clubhouse to rest for a while and then see where he stood.
"In my heart, I feel I'll be one or two shy," he said. "But I've got to be optimistic."
Furyk, who closed with a 71, said a bad back nine Saturday on the way to a 77 cost him a chance here. The wind shifted about 45 degrees and changed club selections. The toughest thing, though, in the wind, may be putting.
"It plays with your mind," he said. "The ball oscillates. and you never feel like you're taking it straight back. You feels the wind is moving it."
As for warming up on the range? "I don't think there's much warming up today," he said of the dipping temperatures and whipping winds. "Just loosening up."
See his scorecard.
-- Melanie Hauser, 12:19 p.m.
POULTER POWER: England's Ian Poulter still has some fight left in him.
After holing a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 16, Poulter got back to even par for the day and made it a two-way tie at the top of the leaderboard with Padraig Harrington at 7 over.
Greg Norman fell a shot behind the duo at 8 over after lipping out a par putt on No. 12. Poulter is getting ready to tee off on the 17th hole, a par 5 that has played as the easiest hole of the tournament. -- T.J. Auclair, 12:08 p.m.
MORE SHARK STATS: Prior to Sunday, Greg Norman had taken the lead into the final round of a major seven times and converted once.
|1993||PGA Championship||Lost in playoff|
Before Norman at Royal Birkdale, Julius Boros was the oldest player to lead a major after 54 holes since World War II. Boros also was 53 that year at the U.S. Open at Oakmont and he continued to own the lead until the 62nd hole, eventually tying for seventh. -- Helen Ross, 12:06 p.m.
ROSE A FAN OF THE SHARK: Count Justin Rose among the thousands of fans rooting for Greg Norman to win the 137th Open Championship.
"It would be cool for him to end his career with this -- he could retire a happy man," said Rose, who made memories at Birkdale 10 years ago when he finished fourth as an amateur. "I don't know why (Birkdale) creates so much drama but it does."
Rose has been impressed with Norman's demeanor this week. The wise 27-year-old attributes the Shark's success to his recent wedding, as well as some top caliber golf.
"My take on it is that he seems very happy off the course and there's a lot to be said for that," Rose said. "When you go through something like a marraige or something special in your life, that's when golf is in perspective. I think that's what he's going through right now.
"He's on an emotional high. You can't create that every week of your life, but for him right now, and I'm just speculating, is that it's a special time in his life and he's enjoying himself. He's still got the game. He's not just thinking his way round, he's playing some great golf and holing some key putts and that's what it comes down to. "He's not just willing the ball into the hole. He's getting it in with sound technique." -- Helen Ross, 11:54 a.m.
ERNIE'S THOUGHTS: Ernie Els was philosophical on Sunday after shooting his second round of 69 at Royal Birkdale. He said he actually left four or five shots out on what he called a "very playable" golf course.
"At least I managed to break par twice," the big South African said. "I look forward to the next major. I'm doing quite a few things right. I'm hitting the ball OK and although I'm not holing a lot, I'm starting to feel I'm getting back to my old routine, my old stroke."
An 80 in the opening round did Els in, though. He played the final nine holes that day in 9 over.
"Then it was just a battle out there to try and get in the top 10, top 20," Els said. Els is headed to Las Vegas to work with his coach, Butch Harmon, for a couple of days. He wants to "sort out all the doubts I have in my technique." Els now has his sights set on the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills.
"It's a good thing it's in two week's time," he said. See his scorecard. -- Helen Ross, 11:48 a.m.
WAY TO GO: Thomas Sherreard was one of two amateurs to make the cut at Royal Birkdale. He made his final round a memorable one, too, as he chipped in for eagle at the 17th hole and made birdie on No. 18 en route to a 72.
"I think I could sell that for quite a bit of money," Sherreard said when asked what the leaders might give for such a finish later today. The 20-year-old from Leicester, England, said he'll probably remain an amateur -- "I dont feel my game's quite ready yet to do it week in and week out," he said -- and continue working toward his degree in psychology at Georgia State.
"The memories this week have all been priceless," said the rising junior. "But I think just being around the players off the golf course (has been the best). Tom Watson walked past us in the hotel the other day and you just can't believe it." See his scorecard. -- Helen Ross, 11:34 a.m.
SHARK IN FRONT AGAIN: Padraig Harrington can't seem to get off the bogey train. At No. 9, the Irishman missed a 10-foot putt for par. It led to his fourth consecutive bogey.
As the final round heads to the back nine, Greg Norman has a one-shot lead at 6 over Harrington and Simon Wakefield. Ian Poulter is two shots behind at 7 over. -- T.J. Auclair, 11:29 a.m.
HIGHER AND HIGHER: With bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8, defending champion Padraig Harrington has slipped back into a tie for the lead with Greg Norman. Harrington's par-putt at No. 8 was from just five feet. Norman parred each of those holes. Simon Wakefield is just a shot off the lead, while Ian Poulter and Anthony Kim are two back. -- T.J. Auclair, 11:15 a.m.
SCORE UPDATE: Greg Norman's early-round woes continue. With a bogey at No. 6 -- his fourth of the day -- the Shark has slipped to 6 over and trails defending champion Padraig Harrington by two shots. Harrington has been flawless so far in the final round with six consecutive pars. -- T.J. Auclair, 10:45 a.m.
SIMON SAYS: Simon Wakefield has birdied the par-4 fifth and now finds himself tied with Greg Norman for second, one shot behind leader Padraig Harrington.
Don't know much about Simon? Read T.J. Auclair's piece from Saturday about all the unknown contenders chasing the Claret Jug.
HARRINGTON LEADS: Three consecutive bogeys to start his final round have put Greg Norman into second place, one shot behind new leader Padraig Harrington. -- Mark Spoor, 10:04 a.m.
TIE AT THE TOP: Pars by Padraig Harrington and bogeys by Greg Norman have tightened the leaderboard. Harrington and Norman are tied for the lead at 4 over with Simon Wakefield and K.J. Choi two back at 6 over. -- Mark Spoor, 9:59 a.m.
LOOK OUT FOR THE AMATEUR: Chris Wood, a 20-year-old amateur player from England, has been enjoying a fine Open Championship. He started the final round six shots off the lead at 8 over.
In case you were wondering, even if Wood doesn't go on to win, he won't be headed home empty handed.
According to the Open Championship media guide: "It had been suggested as early as 1922 that some recognition should be given to the leading amateur in The Open, but it was not until 1949 that a silver medal of the same size and design as the winner's medal, was presented. It bore the inscription 'Golf Champion Trophy,' with the addition of the words 'First Amateur.'
"Frank Stranahan of the United States was the first to receive the silver medal he went on to win it again in 1950, 1951 and 1953.
"From 1972 all amateurs, other than the leading amateur, who have played on the final day of The Open Championship, have received a bronze medal." -- T.J. Auclair, 9:52 a.m.
HOWELLING: England's David Howell, one of the early starters on Sunday, just put the finishing touches on a 3-under-par 67. The score was Howell's best of the week by four shots and was 11 shots better than Saturday's 8-over 78.
Howell had four birdies, three bogeys and an eagle (on No. 17) to post his 12-over 292 total.
Sunday's 67 was Howell's best score in an Open Championship in nine starts and 28 rounds. It was also just the second time he's shot a round below 70. -- T.J. Auclair, 9:42 a.m.
THE LEADER IS UNDER WAY: Leader Greg Norman has begun his final round with an iron shot that landed right in the center of the fairway. Meanwhile, K.J. Choi and Simon Wakefield each bogeyed the opening hole, falling to 5 over and six over, respectively. -- Mark Spoor, 9:29 a.m. ET
LOOK OUT FOR No. 6: If you're looking for a hole to follow today, make it the par-4 sixth. Through three rounds, the field has averaged .7812 strokes over par. Over the last 25 years, no par-4 hole at a major has played this hard through the first three days. Until Saturday, the previous first-three-rounds high over the past 25 years was at The Olympic Club in the 1998 U.S. Open Championship where the 17th hole averaged .7127 strokes over par. -- Elias Sports Bureau, 8:56 a.m.
NOT JUST ONE: Greg Norman is seeking to set several records with a win on Sunday. The oldest winner in PGA TOUR history is Sam Snead (52 years, 10 months, 8 days) with his victory at the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open. The list of PGA TOUR winners over the age of 50 is as follows:
|Player||Age at time of win||Tournament|
|Sam Snead||52 years, 10 months, 8 days||1965 Greater Greensboro Classic|
|Art Wall||51 years, 7 months, 10 days||1975 Greater Milwaukee Open|
|Jim Barnes||51 years, 3 months, 7 days||1937 Long Island Open|
|John Barnum||51 years, 1 month, 5 days||1962 Cajun Classic|
|Fred Funk||50 years, 8 months, 11 days||2007 Mayakoba Classic at Riveira Maya|
|Craig Stadler||50 years, 1 month, 18 days||2003 B.C. Open|
-- John Bush, 7:35 a.m.
LONG WAY TO GO: A top-10 finish by Greg Norman on Sunday would still leave him well behind the oldest player to finish inside the top 10 in a major -- Sam Snead (62 years, 2 months, 15 days). Snead is also the oldest player to make the cut in a major, doing so at the 1979 PGA Championship at the age of 67 years, 2 months and 7 days. -- John Bush, 7:33 a.m.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING? Should Norman win on Sunday, he would be the oldest major champion at the age of 53 years, 5 months and 11 days. Here's a look at the top 10 oldest major winners:
|Player||Age at time of win||Tournament|
|Julius Boros||48 years, 4 months, 18 days||1968 PGA Championship|
|Tom Morris Sr.||46 years, 3 months, 9 days||1867 Open Championship|
|Jack Nicklaus||46 years, 2 months, 23 days||1986 Masters|
|Jerry Barber||45 years, 3 months, 6 days||1961 PGA Championship|
|Hale Irwin||45 years, 15 days||1990 U.S. Open|
|Lee Trevino||44 years, 8 months, 18 days||1984 PGA Championship|
|Roberto de Vicenzo||44 years, 3 months, 3 days||1967 Open Championship|
|Raymond Floyd||43 years, 9 months, 11 days||1986 U.S. Open|
|Ted Ray||43 years, 4 months, 16 days||1920 U.S. Open|
|Julius Boros||43 years, 3 months, 20 days||1963 U.S. Open|
-- John Bush, 7:32 a.m.
CONICIDENCE? Should Greg Norman win on Sunday, the victory would come exactly 22 years (July 20) since he won his first Open Championship at Turnberry in 1986. The current record for the longest span between first and last victories in Open Championship history is 19 years, set by J.H. Taylor (1894-1913). The list is as follows:
|No. of years||Player||Dates|
|19 years||J.H. Taylor||1894-1913|
|18 years||Harry Vardon||1896-1914|
|15 years||Gary Player||1959-1974|
|14 years||Willie Park||1860-1875|
|14 years||Henry Cotton||1934-1948|
Jack Nicklaus holds the record for longest time span between first and last wins in a major championship with a 24-year gap between his wins at the 1962 U.S. Open and the 1986 Masters Tournament. Norman would move into second on this list with a victory on Sunday. -- John Bush, 7:29 a.m.
WEATHER REPORT: Another gorgeous day along the northwest coast of England is in store for the final round of the 137th Open Championship. That doesn't mean it won't be windy, though.
When Greg Norman and Padraig Harrington tee off at 9:20 p.m. ET, they'll face gusts of between 35-38 mph. That's about 10 mph off the peak winds from Saturday, but challenging nonetheless.
A brief shower hit Royal Birkdale around 11 a.m. local time but overall the skies are bright. Temperatures will hover in the mid- to upper-50s throughout the afternoon.
-- Helen Ross, 6:35 a.m.