CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (Reuters) - Justin Rose, galvanized by the 14-foot putt he sank at the 18th on Friday to survive the halfway cut by a shot, tied the lowest score in Carnoustie’s British Open history with a spectacular seven-under 64 on Saturday.
The world number three, so often the bridesmaid at major championships but only once before the bride, was engaged with his third round right from the outset as he posted a birdie three at the opening hole.
“Momentum-wise, birdying the very first hole, picking up where I left off last night, got me well into the round early,” England’s Rose told reporters after rocketing into title contention with a four-under aggregate of 209.
“The birdie on 18 last night freed me up and I was just happy to be out on the course and not down the road somewhere else this morning. That might have been part of the shift in mindset today, obviously I had nothing to lose.”
Rose threatened to mount a challenge in the year’s first two majors before eventually having to settle for a share of 12th spot at the U.S. Masters and a tie for 10th at last month’s U.S. Open, the championship he won in 2013.
Seven times the 37-year-old has finished in the top five of a major without managing to enter the winner’s circle but he has proved he belongs among the game’s elite ever since he tied for fourth on his British Open debut in 1998.
Rose performed flawlessly on Saturday and followed up his opening birdie by making further inroads on par at the sixth, 10th, 13th, 14th, 17th and 18th.
His round matched the 64s of American Steve Stricker and Australian Richard Green that were recorded the last time golf’s oldest major was played here 11 years ago.
“It was a beautiful morning to play golf,” said early-starter Rose after producing the lowest score of the week. “The greens were receptive and the pins weren’t as tough as maybe the first couple of days.”
Rose revealed his turbo-charged performance came the day after his coach, Sean Foley, had gone home.
“He left last night,” said the Briton. “We worked on a lot this week and I think sometimes you’ve got to let the dust settle a little bit.
“I kind of fell back into some sort of simple, old, reliable swing feels.”
Editing by Neville Dalton