TURNBERRY, Scotland (Reuters) - Ross Fisher kept alive his twin dream of winning a maiden major title and celebrating the birth of his first child by carding a level-par 70 in Saturday’s third round at the British Open.
The 28-year-old Briton birdied two of the last three holes to finish at three-under 207, one stroke behind pacesetting American Tom Watson after a blustery day on Turnberry’s Ailsa Course.
However, Fisher’s wife Joanne was due to give birth to the couple’s first child four days ago and he still intends to withdraw from the Open if she goes into labor.
“Like I said all along, if Jo does go into labor, I’ll be supporting her 100 percent,” the Englishman told reporters after ending the day level with Australian Mathew Goggin (69).
“I won’t be here. I’ll be with her because it’s something I definitely don’t want to miss. It will be a shame but we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Double European Tour winner Fisher, making his third Open appearance, has instructed his manager to alert him on the course as soon as his wife’s situation changes.
”Hopefully, I can hang on for one more day and hopefully she can,“ he said. ”Who knows?
“To win and then to get back home and see the birth of our first child would be a dream come true. But there’s a long way to go.”
Fisher, fifth in last month’s U.S. Open, is bidding to become the first home winner of a British Open since Scot Paul Lawrie at Carnoustie in 1999.
“Hopefully I can keep my mind on the job and just go out there and perform as well as I can,” he said of Sunday’s final round.
“I’ve got a great chance. Tom’s a heck of a player and to be doing this at 59 is incredible. I kind of kept a close eye on the leaderboard and knew what people were doing and saw he wasn’t faltering.”
Watson, who triumphed at Turnberry 32 years ago, is an eight-times major champion who has lifted the Claret Jug on five occasions.
”He’s just a legend,“ Fisher added. ”He’s a great player and I‘m sure he’ll go out there tomorrow and there will be a lot of people rooting for him.
“But hopefully if I can play my game and shoot a decent score, post a number in the group in front of him that he’s got to beat, who knows?”
Editing by Tony Jimenez