The onus was firmly on Spieth to light up this Championship once Rory McIlroy pulled out injured and he has delivered, but some of the biggest names in golf now provide a stellar cast for the final act on this hallowed Scottish links course. It also marked the turning point in his round.
Masters and US Open champion Spieth, who is chasing the third leg of an unprecedented calendar grand slam, did not think play should have started at 7am, but was also furious with himself for five three-putts in his round.
Back to his best after a disappointing second round, the 21-year-old Spieth is just a shot behind a three-way tie for the lead held by Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Day and Irish amateur Paul Dunne, who are at 12-under after 54 holes. He was four shots out of the lead. They had mistaken the amateur for Jordan Spieth yet, if they had waited until the early evening on Sunday, their apathy would have turned to delight. He’s not about to be overcome by the moment on Monday, something that those in front of him may not be able to honestly say. Why should it add more pressure in a negative way? I look at it nearly as an advantage. “You hit the ball a little bit further, you can really get your mind around a more specific target and block out other things”.
Duval failed to get up and down from the back of the 16th green for his second bogey of the day and eventually completed a 67 to finish five under par.
The 22-year-old from Greystones, a coastal town south of Dublin, carded a 66 to stun the rest of the field and shock thousands of fans assembled at the Old Course, who wondered who he was.
“I didn’t feel like I played that bad”, he said. “I did both times”. He was so upset that he went over and punched his golf bag in anger.
That display of anger only served to release the champion within.
As for Johnson, he’s got 17 players ahead of him and is tied with seven more, which will make it extremely hard to work his way back up the leaderboard. There’s not too many people who have been leading into the third round as an amateur.
Overnight leader Dustin Johnson was disappointing in the third round, as the slow greens seem to upset his putting.
Johnson struggled on the greens all day and made 13 pars in his first 14 holes, added to a dropped shot on the seventh.
The symbolism was lost on no-one.
There was his final-round meltdown in the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, followed a couple of months later by his disputed two-shot penalty on the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship that cost him a spot in the playoff. It was his fourth three-putt of the round.
Golf is a serious business but on the 18th tee, a spot of mirth.
While he’s actually older than Spieth, he has been far less heralded than the American superstar.
Though the disappointment of missing out on a birdie at the ever-accessible last will grate, he signed for a round of six-under to stand on the shoulders of the leading trio.
The 21-year-old, bidding to become the first man to win the first three majors of the year since Ben Hogan in 1953, began the delayed third round at five-under but the putts began to disappear on a ideal day for low scoring.
“I can’t speak for tomorrow given it’s the last round, and if I have a chance coming down the stretch, if it creeps in, I’ll embrace it. I’ll embrace the opportunity”.
“I always wanted to shoot 65 on the Sunday of an Open, ” Harrington said. I can just go out and try to play my game and see where it leaves me at the end of the day. Will I sleep? Well I don’t see why not.