McIlroy takes to the course in British Open

Play underway in third round with McIlroy being chased by Dustin Johnson

Spectators make their way around the course in the rain during day three of the British Open at Royal Liverpool. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire.

Spectators make their way around the course in the rain during day three of the British Open at Royal Liverpool. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire.


Heavy rain did not deter spectators from turning out in force to watch an historic third day of the British Open at Royal Liverpool.

With an amber weather warning in place for heavier rain and potential thunderstorms the R&A made the unprecedented decision to operate a two-tee start for the first time in the tournament’s long and illustrious history.

It meant all 72 players were on the course by 11.01am with two of the biggest names Rory McIlroy, leading on 12 under, and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, at two over, both last off but on the first and 10th holes respectively.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson was in the first three-ball off the first at 9am and, watched by an almost full grandstand behind the tee, he produced a birdie three to move to one under.

The left-hander was joined in his three-ball by US PGA champions past and present with Keegan Bradley, who won his first major in 2011, making par and Jason Dufner bogeying.

Over at the 10th Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, Englishman Chris Rodgers and American Ben Martin all began with par.

Mickelson, wearing black gloves on both hands, bogeyed the second after missing the green and failing to get his parachute shot up and over a bank, resorting to two putts for his bogey.

McIlroy arrived at the course at 9.30am in relaxed mood ahead of his bid to secure the third leg of a career grand slam, having already won the US Open and US PGA, and appeared unperturbed by the rain as he leisurely selected his choice of golf shoes from the boot of the 4x4 which had driven him in.

But he made a shaky start just after 11am, as an opening bogey, coupled with a birdie for nearest challenger Dustin Johnson, saw his lead cut to two shots.

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