Spencer Levin, a 27-year-old from Elk Grove, California, started his final round in The Open close to the tail of the field at 8.20 this morning, his lowly position caused by a third round of 81 in the brutal weather conditions. Today is a totally different story. He birdied the opening two holes and held steady par through the next four before picking up another shot at the downwind seventh. His first blemish of the day came at the next, but another birdie at the 10th made him the joint best player on the course at three under par.
Sharing that score after seven holes is Simon Kahn, winner of the BMW PGA Championship in 2010 and the Wales Open six years earlier. He is the steadiest player out there this morning. No dropped shots and three birdies is a fine way to start in blustery wind and the occasional rain squall.
More familiar names making an impression on par are 2009 Champion Stewart Cink and Justin Rose, best remembered for his fourth place at Royal Birkdale in 1998 when he was a teenage amateur. He has failed to improve on that finish in eight subsequent appearances and will not do so today. He is experiencing the best and worst of links golf, two under par for today’s round, he has dropped shots at the fourth and sixth, birdied the fifth and eighth and eagled the seventh. Cink has birdied the crosswind short third.