Brian Harman got off to a shaky start, but was solid the rest of the way.
Harman made a clutch par putt on the final hole to cap a two-under-par 69 and will take a five-stroke lead over Cameron Young to the final round of the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, Wirral, England.
“I didn’t have a very good start, but I knew I was hitting the ball well, so I just remained patient and righted the ship,” said Harman, who is seeking his first major victory and also held the 54-hole lead in the 2017 U.S. Open before finishing in a tie for second, four shots behind Brooks Koepka. “I’m proud of the way I hung in there.
“I’m going to go hit some balls on the range now, then get something to eat and go to bed early, maybe read a book and get plenty of sleep. Then I’m going to try to do the same things tomorrow that I did today, hit every shot as well as I can, remain patient and hopefully make a few more putts.
“It’s fantastic playing golf over here because you have to be creative, and I really enjoy it.”
Harman, who has four victories in his professional career and also led by five entering the second round, made his only bogeys of the day on the second and fourth holes but bounced right back with the first of his four birdies at No. 5 and went on the record a 54-hole score of 12-under-par 201.
Young, the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year last season, made four of his six birdies on the front nine and the last one at No. 18 to cap a 66, while third-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, the reigning Masters champion, carded the round of the day with a bogey-free, course-record 63 and is one more back in third.
“I feel like I’ve played very similarly all week,” said Young, who won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2021, but has yet to break through on the PGA Tour. “My iron play has been great. I’ve just hit a lot of greens and given myself plenty of chances. And, honestly, I’ve putted really nicely, too.
“There were a couple short misses in there that are really annoying, but I think the greens are just a little tricky in places. I feel like I’ve really had pretty good control of my game on the whole. But it is difficult in general out here and you have to really be so on top of your game on this golf course.
“Tomorrow we’re going to have the same plan of attack as the last few days and kind of see where we are after a few holes. Then we might have to maybe start aiming at things that you might not do otherwise.”
Said Rahm, who has bounced back from an opening 74: “That’s the best round I’ve played on a links golf course ever. I knew I was playing better, and I knew my swing and my game felt better than the scores I was shooting.
“The job today was to come out and give myself the best opportunity I could. Whenever you get a birdie, you’re just thinking about one more. That’s simply all you can do. Yeah, it feels really good, but there’s a lot of work to do tomorrow.”
Fifth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway made three birdies on each nine in a 66 and is seven shots behind in a tie for fourth with Jason Day of Australia, who had all four of his birdies on the front nine in a 69, Antoine Rozner of France, who eagled the 15th hole and birdied the last for a 67, Sepp Straka of Austria, who birdied three of the first five holes on the back nine in a 70, and Tommy Fleetwood of England, who shared the first-round lead at 66, but has two 71s since.
Alex Fitzpatrick of England birdied four of the first 10 holes and three of the last four in a 65 and is eight back in a tie for ninth with Shubhankar Sharma of India, who eagled the fifth hole but made no birdies in a 70.
Second-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who won the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, birdied three of the first five holes in a 69 and is tied for 11th, while eight-ranked Max Homa of Valencia and Cal made two late birdies in a 70 and is in a tie for 17th that includes ninth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England, who birdied four of the last five holes for a 67.
Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA made three birdies in four holes through the turn en route to a bogey-free 67 and is in a tie for 24th that includes sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, who made three birdies on the front nine in a 68, and defending champion and seventh-ranked Cameron Smith of Australia, who birdied the last hole for another 68, and 10th-ranked Wyndham Clark, the reigning U.S. Open champion, who birdied the last hole for a 71.
Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, who made the cut on the number a day earlier with a birdie on the last hole to cap a 75, birdied No. 18 again but this time for a 72 and is in a tie for 63rd that includes reigning PGA champion Brooks Koepka, who birdied the last two holes for another 72.
For complete results and final-round tee times, visit: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard