Defying the odds, 61-year-old Tom Watson, is calling on all the experience gained in 33 previous Opens, five of which he has won, and is one under par for the opening seven holes of his third round. He survived the dreaded 495-yard par-four fourth hole where only eight players have matched par, another 10 have dropped just one shot, four have double-bogeyed and 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie has run up a seven. Watson rapped in a 27-foot putt for his par and has now completed six holes in level par. Another safe par at the short sixth was followed by one of the day’s rare birdies, at the downwind 564-yard seventh.
He added a round of 70 yesterday to his opening 72 to qualify comfortably, scores that were exactly matched by defending champion Louis Oosthuizen. Playing in the match behind Watson today Oosthuizen is also sticking close to his overnight score, dropping just one shot at the fourth.
He showed last year at St Andrews that he can handle bad weather, forging his way ahead of the field in the strong winds of the second day with a remarkable 67, the day that Rory McIlroy took 80.