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Monday, July 20, 2015

It's Madness, I Tell You. MADNESS!

I don't know what to say. I really don't know what to say. The third round of the Open Championship gave us so many potential storylines -- many of which we couldn't possibly have predicted -- that I don't see any way to guess what will happen.

Amateur Paul Dunne and Louis Oosthuizen

This photo (from the website) of amateur Paul Dunne and Louis Oosthuizen walking together in round 3 -- which, btw, will be the final pairing on Monday -- pretty much sums up the unpredictability of this Open.
  • Paul Dunne, a student from UAB (that's the University of Alabama at Birmingham, for readers unfamiliar with the US colleges), has an opportunity to become the first amateur to win the Open since Bobby Jones back in 1930. He's currently tied for the lead at -12. And three shots back, amateur Jordan Niebrugge could possibly do it as well.
  • Louis Oosthuizen, the "defending" champion from the last Open played at St. Andrews (2010), could join the small table of champs to win two Opens there. He also co-leads.
  • And the third co-leader is Jason Day, in position to finally get a major of his own.
  • A single shot behind them is Jordan Spieth, possibly ready to join Ben Hogan as the only other man to win the first three legs of the Grand Slam in a single season.
  • Who would have predicted Padraig Harrington to be a mere two shots back, in position to win his third Open and fourth major overall? If the weather turns nasty, he has to be considered a favorite after his "mudder" wins at Carnoustie and Royal Birkdale.
  • And nine players sit three shots back at -9, including Niebrugge, Sergio Garcia, and numerous major winners like Retief Goosen, Justin Rose, Adam Scott and Zach Johnson.
  • Then there were the unexpected stumbles by Dustin Johnson and Danny Willett, who shot +3 and even par respectively, to make their jobs much harder today.
Given that Spieth was 5 back to start the day and still couldn't take the third round lead, you have to guess that anyone more than 3 shots back doesn't have much of a chance, especially since nasty weather IS predicted. (Although DJ or Willett might rally if the weather is bad, since both played well in the bad weather of the first two rounds.)

It's been a long time since I can remember an Open that was, well, so wide open. You can make a valid case for any of the primary contenders... and given how this season has played out so far, you might be right!

Obviously the Limerick Summary is postponed until Tuesday because we don't have a winner yet. But who knows who the recipient will be? It looks to be one wild Monday finish!

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