Rory McIlroy is nine holes away from getting his name engraved on the silver claret jug again.
McIlroy made only one birdie and missed a few good chances on the front nine. But he didn’t have to do much. Viktor Hovland remains the only player at St. Andrews who has yet to make a birdie in the final round of the British Open. He dropped a shot on the fourth, ending his streak of 26 straight holes without a bogey.
Cameron Smith and Cameron Young have joined the fight for the final two hours.
McIlroy was at 17-under par, two clear of Hovland, Smith and Young. McIlroy is trying to end eight years without winning a major. His last one was the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla.
Rory McIlroy has opened a two-shot lead on the front nine of the British Open.
Viktor Hovland was the first to blink when he badly missed his approach on the fourth, leaving himself 8 feet from the hole. He three-putted for a bogey. On the next hole at the par-5 fifth, Hovland was in the downslope of the rough and couldn’t reach the green in two. He made par, while McIlroy two-putted for birdie to reach 17 under.
Cameron Young and Cameron Smith were each 2 under for their rounds and three shots behind.
The only player going the wrong direction was Masters champion Scottie Scheffler. He found a pot bunker off the tee at the par-5 fifth and three-putted for a bogey. He made another bogey at the next hole and was eight shots behind.
Filippo Celli has won the silver medal as the low amateur at the British Open.
The 21-year-old Italian shot 1-under 71 in the final round to finish the week at 5 under, six strokes ahead of Aaron Jarvis.
Celli started the day at 4 under and bogeyed two of his first three holes. He finished the front nine at 4 under with three birdies and three bogeys.
His breakthrough came on the par-5 14th when he put his second shot within 9 feet of the pin and then sank the eagle putt. He bogeyed the 17th but barely missed an eagle on 18. He then made the 2-foot birdie putt.
Celli won the European Amateur Championship in Spain in June. Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia are previous winners of that tournament.
McIlroy also won the silver medal as low amateur at the 2007 British Open.
Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland have teed off on the final day of the British Open at St. Andrews.
McIlroy and Hovland lead the tournament at 16-under par, four strokes ahead of Cameron Smith.
McIlroy won the claret jug in 2014 at Royal Liverpool. Hovland is trying become the first Norwegian man to win a golf major.
Sadom Kaewkanjana of Thailand and Abraham Ancer of Mexico both shot 7-under 65 in the final round of the British Open to move to 11 under, five shots behind co-leaders Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland.
Both Kaewkanjana and Ancer, who were playing together, entered the day 12 strokes behind the leaders at 4 under. McIlroy and Hovland have not yet started their final rounds.
The 24-year-old Kaewkanjana is playing in his first British Open. Ancer is playing at the tournament for the fourth time. He missed the cut in 2018 and 2019 but finished in a tie for 59th last year at Royal St. George’s.
A gray sky and light rain greets the final day of the British Open at St. Andrews, though it’s not expected to stick around by the time Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland tee off.
They are tied for the lead at 16-under par. McIlroy is trying to win his second claret jug and his first major in eight years. Hovland is trying to win his first major, and a first for Norway.
And so concludes a big week at the home of golf. The R&A has harshly criticized the Saudi-funded rival league and suggested changes to the criteria. Tiger Woods crossed the Swilcan Bridge for what may be the last time after missing the cut.
All that’s left is to crown a “champion golfer of the year.” Four players were within five shots of McIlroy and Hovland. That includes Masters champion Scottie Scheffler. Nick Faldo is the only other player to have won at Augusta National and St. Andrews in the same year.
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