The Open 2012: Woods puts pressure on leader Scott

OPEN THIRD-ROUND LEADERBOARD

  • -11: Scott (Aus)
  • -7: Snedeker (US), McDowell (NI)
  • -6: Woods (US)
  • -5: Z.Johnson (US) Ernie Els (RSA)
  • -4: Olesen (Den)
  • Selected others: -1 Donald (Eng), +3 Poulter (Eng), +4 Westwood (Eng) +5 McIlroy (NI)

Tiger Woods attempted to apply pressure on leader Adam Scott ahead of the final round of the Open, suggesting that the Australian has under achieved so far in his career.

Scott, 32, leads by four shots after three rounds at Royal Lytham & St Annes, with three-time Open champion Woods lurking one shot further back.

"He's going for his first major title," said Woods, who has won 14 of them.

Tiger sticking to his Open game plan

"I don't think he's done probably as well as he'd like to [in majors]."

Woods, who carded a third-round 70 for outright fourth, added: "But I think that he's maturing in his game and I think over the last maybe year or so he's really improved his game.

"He is in a great spot right now, he's got a four-shot lead and he's playing really well."

Scott's best performance in a Grand Slam event came at last year's Masters, when he finished joint second.

His best finish at the Open was tied third when Woods won his third Claret Jug at Hoylake in 2006.

But Scott's three-round total of 199 is four ahead of Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, the 2010 US Open champion, and second-round leader Brandt Snedeker, who had a three-over 73.

Analysis

"It's not quite Scott's to lose. Four stroke leads have disappeared on major stages in the past - just ask Rory McIlroy.

"But if the Australian maintains the power and accuracy that has taken him to 11 under par it will take something special to deny him his first major title.

"Graeme McDowell will need to maintain the form that gave him three birdies in the last six holes last night and Brandt Snedeker will require the standards of his first two rounds.

"Tiger Woods, five back, is still a big threat but may have to abandon his conservative policy. That could prove difficult in the predicted final day heavy winds."

Woods briefly looked like making more significant inroads into Scott's lead after reaching the turn at seven under but he dropped a shot on the 15th and never found a way back.

Woods added: "Whether the wind blows or not, I've still got to go out there and post the round that I know I need to post and execute my plan."

However, history is against Woods, who has never won a major going into the final round behind.

Meanwhile, Snedeker could not hide his annoyance having let his lead slip but insisted he remained a threat on the final day.

Snedeker had six bogeys in 10 holes from the fifth, having not dropped a shot in his opening two rounds.

But the world number 29 made birdies at 16 and 18 to keep himself in the hunt for a maiden major title.

Snedeker, 31, said: "It was very frustrating. I played very poorly on about as easy a day as we're going to see and I'm not happy with it at all.

"But those two birdies late on salvaged what could have been a horrific round into a pretty awful round so I've still got a chance.

"I realise there's a ton of golf left and I've played a lot of great golf to get to this point.

Open leader Scott determined to stay calm

"I know it's not far off. I know it's in there somewhere. As long as I hang in there and keep fighting, you never know what might happen.

"Today was one of those things where you've got to find out if you have some guts or don't. I could have packed up and gone home but I didn't."

Former Open champion Ernie Els said he had rediscovered his belief and that "something special" could happen in the final round.

The South African, who won the Claret Jug at Muirfield 10 years ago for the last of his three majors, shot a third-round 68 to put himself in a tie for fifth on five under.

"For some reason I've got some belief this week," said the 42-year-old.

"I feel something special can happen. I've put in a lot of work, especially the last couple of months, so something good is bound to happen. Hopefully it's on Sunday."

Els, looking back at his two previous appearances at Lytham, added: "I'm kind of in a similar position as I was in '96 and '01, trying to chase down a leader.

"In '96 I came close [joint second] and '01 not so close [joint third] but I feel I've got a chance."