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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 July 2007, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Open 3rd round - as it happened
Leaders:
-9 S Garcia
-6 S Stricker
-3 KJ Choi, C DiMarco, P McGinley, S Cink, P Harrington, E Els, P Broadhurst

Sergio Garcia
Garcia made three birdies and no bogeys in his round of 68
Sergio Garcia will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Open after a near flawless 68 at Carnoustie.

The Spaniard is on nine under par, while American Steve Stricker, who equalled the course record with a third-round 64, is second.

England's Paul Broadhurst and Irish duo Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley are in a group on three under par.

Ernie Els and KJ Choi are also three under, while Tiger Woods, who worked hard for a 69, is one under.

LATEST ACTION AS IT HAPPENS (All times BST)

By Ben Dirs

606: DEBATE

To get involved, text 81111 (not from the course, where mobiles are banned!) or contribute to 606

1825: "Be good!" roars Garcia after hitting his approach to the 18th green, and it's not just good, it's in by 10 o'clock with a bunch of flowers and a big, sloppy kiss. He'll have a 10-footer for birdie. Choi finds the back of the green with his third shot. That's a bogey at the last for Choi - a 72 and he's three under for the tournament. Garcia's birdie putt slides just by the hole and that was a rock-solid round from the Spaniard - a 68, with three birdies and no bogeys, and he's three shots clear on nine under. Sergio's got this one in the bag - hasn't he? Join us tomorrow to find out, it's sure to be a crackerjack final 18.

"The hapless photographer who briefly got in the way of Sergio's Open march was left with a jaw whch resembled a side of beef. But how do 50 photographers react when one of their own is felled? Rush to his aid? Round on the man who did it? Of course not, they take a photo of him lying flat out on the ground!"
BBC Sport's Stuart Roach at Carnoustie

1812: The rain really rodding down now on the Angus coast as Garcia clips another nice-and-easy iron down the middle of the 18th fairway. Choi, however, sticks his drive into the Barry Burn. Jimenez is in with a 72 after a par at the last, and Weir makes bogey to finish with the same score. Both are two under going into the final day.

1809: That was a lovely little flick-on from the bloke under the scoreboard - Garcia has a decent lie and he flips a glorious wedge to within a few feet of the hole. I'm not sure about a signed glove, Sergio owes him a couple of weeks in Monte Carlo after that little deflection. Weir clubs a fairway wood over the back of the 18th green - my 20 quid is evaporating into the ether as I type - but Jimenez plops his apporoach into the heart of the putting surface.

1803: Furyk bogeys the last for a 71. The world number three is two under going into the final day of battle. Garcia still seems to be suffering the effects of that visit to the portaloo - ammonia poisoning, probably - and he clocks some poor chap on the side of the head with his approach at 17. The unfortunate fellow crumples into a heap beneath the scoreboard, but he looks like he's going to be OK. Sergio wanders over a little sheepishly and gives his victim a pat and a little souvenir. Nice touch. Massive slice of luck from Weir, his first at the 18th bouncing just short of the Barry Burn and skimming over the top. Barnes Wallis will be purring up in heaven.

European Down
1756: Choi, with that no-frills swing of his, sweeps a three wood down down the middle of the 17th fairway. Sergio strolls off down the fairway, hands in pockets like a naughty schoolboy ducking off for a crafty fag, and nips off course to point Percy at the porcelain. If those portaloos are anything like those at Glastonbury, we might not see him again. Jimenez, after finding water at 17, escapes with a bogey and is two under.

Rain
1753: Garcia's wheels are still bolted on very tightly - another solid par at 16 and Choi matches him. This pair are grinding Carnoustie into the dust. A sighting of Boo, who slices his approach at 18 into the bunker to the front right of the green. Some weather driving in as Sergio prepares to clip his ball down the 17th fairway.

1750: Andres Romero, playing with fellow Argentine Carbrera, pours in his birdie putt for a round of 70 and two under overall. Cabrera is in with a 72 and is even par.

1746: Garcia is safely on the dancefloor with his tee shot at 16 and KJ Choi continues to grind away with a solid iron of his own. US Open champion Angel Cabrera slaughtered his ball off the 18th tee to leave himself no more than a nine iron into the green.

1742: Garcia rolls his birdie putt just by the hole at the 15th but rattles in the par putt to stay at nine under. Choi follows him in to stay six off the lead. Jimenez is struggling to hold his round together - he's found the wet stuff with his approach at the 18th.

"I have a month-old daughter named Anna who stops crying when she hears Peter Alliss or Sam Torrance. How are they fixed for babysitting?"
David Gisbourne via text

1737: Garcia fades a magnificent long iron to the heart of the 14th green and Choi's approach just creeps on. Westwood can only scramble a bogey five at the last to finish with a 73. The Englishman is one over. Some succour for Forsyth at the 18th - he rolls in a birdie putt for a round of 78 and six over for the tournament. Carnoustie put manners on the Scotsman today.

"The Carnoustie crowds were really taking Stricker to their hearts as he held himself together over the treacherous final four holes. But McStricker will need nerves of steel again for tomorrow's final round."
BBC Sport's Stuart Roach at Carnoustie

1731: World number three Furyk makes bogey at 16 to slip back to two under. Garcia slaps an iron down the middle of the 15th fairway. Choi sends his drive whistling by with his fairway wood. Jimenez made a double-bogey seven at the 14th but manages a birdie at 15 to move back to three under.

1728: Sergio curls his eagle putt at the 14th 10 feet past and misses the return. That will feel like a shot dropped for the leader. Choi saves par to remain four under. Goosen is in with a 73 and is plus one for the tournament. Three bogeys to finish for the South African. JJ Henry cards a 71 and is one under.

1720: Garcia finds the putting surface with his second at the par-five 14th and he could walk off the green four shots clear of the chasing pack. Choi blocks his approach right. A workmanlike round from Choi but he's being badly outgunned by his playing partner. A round to forget for Scotland's Forsyth - eight bogeys so far with two holes to play.

1715: Magnificent recovery from Ernie at 18, dinking his ball over the burn to within six feet of the hole. Sergio fizzes a long iron down the 14th fairway but Choi finds sand with his big stick. Els taps in for par at the last and there ends a remarkable round of 68 - six birdies and a triple bogey and he's still got a sniff at three under. Broadhurst follows him in for a matching 68 and he too is three under.

1711: Jimenez has found a ton of trouble at 14 - he finds a fairway bunker with his drive, gets greedy with his first escape and is only able to nudge his ball out sideways with his third shot. Els duffs one at 18 but his ball stops just short of the Barry Burn. This is pretty relentless stuff from Garcia - another two putt at 13 and he stays three ahead of the pack.

1707: Pin-seeking tee shot from Garcia at the par-three 13th and he'll have a very makeable putt to move to 10 under. Harrington is in with a 68 - just one dropped shot at the 12th - and he's three under for the tournament.

1702: Another par for Garcia at 12 and his compatriot Jimenez is not short of a bit of magic today either - his escape from a greenside bunker at 13 ends up a couple of inches from the cup. He'll stay four under.

European Up
1656: Choi and Garcia safely on in two at the 12th. Ernie Els borrows just a little too much at 17 but that's a solid four. Ernie's smiling again, however, and he's right in the shake-up for the final day. Broadhurst rolls in a 15-footer at 17 to move level with playing partner Els at three under. Cink is in with a 68 and he's also three under for the tournament.

BBC Sport mole
"Steve Stricker is a bit peeved to be playing over here this weekend as it clashes with his local event on the PGA Tour, the US Bank Championship in Wisconsin. He said: 'It's a tough deal. I've got to be here, because it's a major. It's a little more important than the US Bank, but it hurts not to be there.' What is with these Americans? Steve, this is the greatest golfing event on the planet. Forget your tinpot tournament for pity's sake."
BBC Sport's TV mole at Carnoustie

European Up
1650: Els has picked up another shot at 16 and is three under. And Garcia stretches his lead to three shots with a tiddler at 11. Choi, too, picks up a shot to move back to four under. Harrington's long birdie putt at 17 flirts with the hole and the Irishman stays at three under.

1645: Garcia pulls out the big dog on the 11th tee and marmalises his ball 70 yards past Choi's down the middle of the fairway. While his first shot is brutal, his second is smooth as silk - he's got a two-footer to move to nine under. Choi hits his approach 20 feet from the pin. Cink is three under after making a lengthy birdie putt at the 17th.

1641: Remarkable recovery from Els after his triple bogey at 6 - four birdies since and he should pick up another shot at 16 after a dreamy tee shot to within three feet of the cup. Make that one disappear and he's back to three under. McGinley pars the last and he's in with a 68 for three under overall. Slap, bang in the mix for the final day.

1637: Garcia is getting everything there or thereabouts on the dance floor and that's another tap in for par at the 10th.

US down
1631: News of Boo - the big man will have upped his tobacco chewing of late having dropped a shot at 6 and two at 8 to slip back to even par. Vijay Singh slides in a lengthy putt at the last to save par and card a 68. The Fijian is two under for the tournament. If McGinley was wearing a trilby, he'd be wearing it at a jaunty angle at the moment. His second shot at the last gives him a chance of a rare birdie and an overall score of four under.

1628: Harrington flashes that magnificent grin of his after another par at 15. The Irishman remains on three under. Garcia just misses with his birdie putt at 9 but that's another par and he's out in 34.

1626: Steve Stricker equals the course record with a rampaging 64. That gives the American the clubhouse lead on six under. Westwood made double bogey at 12 and dropped back to even par.

European Down
1623: Sticking with Westwood, the Englishman chips on at 12 but has a tough 20-footer for bogey. Broadhurst, who, like Els, made a horlicks of the 6th, is, like Els, coming out swinging down the stretch. Eagle at 14 for the Englishman and he's back to two under. Els, however, can only make par to stay at two under.

1620: Westwood is making a hash of the 12th - his third shot dribbles through the back of the green and he could struggle to make bogey. Stricker rifles his approach at the 18th into a greenside bunker. Say goodnight to that course record, Stevie...

US up
1616: Harrington leaves his birdie putt at 15 just right of the hole to stay at three under and Jimenez is out in 35 to stay four under par. McGinley of Ireland bogeys the 17th to drop back to two under.

European Up
1608: Els is tearing the course up now - he rolls in another birdie putt at 13 and he's right back in it at two under. Weir drops a shot at 8 to drop back to three under. Choi gets his putter caught up in his skirt at 8 and comes up short with his birdie attempt. But Sergio makes no mistake from 15 feet, his birdie putt dragging its feet before deciding to take the plunge. The Spaniard roars into a two-shot lead over Steve Stricker.

1605: Els is mounting a stirring recovery following his triple-bogey eight at the 6th - birdies at 8, 11 and 12 and he's back to one under. Garcia safely on in one at the par-three 8th.

1600: Woods makes another clutch putt for par at the last at he's somehow fashioned a 69 to finish the day on two under. That round was the equivalent of a badly hungover builder somehow managing to fit you a new kitchen in a day. Gutsy. Stricker makes par at 16 to stay a shot off the lead. Garcia just misses with his birdie putt at 7 and swaps pars with playing partner Choi.

European Up
1556: Peche de la peche from Woods at the last, punching his approach from 89 yards to a few feet from the pin. Class in a glass from Garcia at 7, a sky-high wedge over the hump protecting the pin to within 10 yards. Harrington birdies 13 to make up for a dropped shot at 12 and move back to three under.

1551: Garcia plonks his drive on the 7th in the middle of the fairway and 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir (who I stuck a tenner on each way before start of play) moves to four under with a birdie at 7. Woods is now wrestling with the 18th hole and he's only able to nudge his second a few yards down the fairway.

1548: Sweet as a nut from Garcia, the leader nipping a wedge to within a few feet to set up a birdie chance. McGinley digs out from a greenside bunker at 14 and drains the birdie putt to move to four under. Stricker is on fire - in goes a 30-footer at 15 to save par and he remains on course to equal the course record of 64. Garcia dribbles his birdie putt just wide at the 6th and Choi makes bogey to slip three behind his playing partner.

1543: Choi is hacking up the 5th hole, dragging his second shot into some nasty stuff. Garcia thumps his second just shy of the green. Woods is still grinding away and that's another par at 17. The world number one still one under for the tournament.

1535: Stricker finds a fairway trap with his tee shot at 15. Seven birdies today for Stricker and no bogeys - so far. Garcia gives it some serious rat-a-tat-tat with the big stick at 5, and that's straight down the middle. Club-head speed of 122mph and that ball was travelling at 179mph, if you're into that kind of thing. Choi finds a fairway bunker with his drive.

Ken Brown
"It's almost a course of two halves now, with the front nine relatively easy and the back nine pretty tough."
BBC Sport's Ken Brown

US up
1530: Stricker's eagle putt at 14 slips just past the hole but he taps in for birdie to move to seven under for the round and six under for the tournament. The back of Garcia's neck will be hotting up. Crackerjack recovery from Woods from some cabbage next to the 16th - he can blow that one in for par. Garcia makes another clutch six-footer for par at 5 - they're exactly the sort of putts he's needs to be making if he's going to win this tournament.

1525: Woods may be striking his long clubs like Bruce Forsyth with a dose of the yips, but his putting is its usual unerring self - he rolls in another six-footer to save par at the 15th. Westwood yanks his tee shot at the par-three 8th before serving up a fruity aside about one of the spectators. Apparently he or she thought his ball might have been going in the hole...

US up
1520: Woods is not looking like an Open champion at the moment as he pushes another approach into the cabbage front right of the 15th green. Watching Woods at the moment is like watching a man attempting to stop a runaway truck from careering off the side of a cliff. Remarkably, he's one under for the day. Stricker, in contrast, is playing like a dream and he birdies 13 to move to five under and two off the lead. Matching pars for Choi and Garcia at 4. There are spots of rain but no sign so far of the expected deluge.

BBC Sport mole
"Where are all the blimmin' celebs? Last year at Hoylake we had magnificent specimens such as George Clooney, Samuel L Jackson and Bruce Willis getting ratted in the Ship Inn. Is Alan Shearer and Rob Lee really the best Carnoustie is going to offer us? Re: Prince Andrew, he came into our studio at Loch Lomond last week and pressed some flesh - nice fella."
BBC Sport's TV mole at Carnoustie

1514: Woods makes birdie at 14 to move to one under and the defending champion is grinding away. Great recovery from Garcia and he's safely on the 4th green in two. Harrington, at three under, is out in 33 while Northern Irish amateur, who has already claimed the Silver Medal, is in with a 73 for plus four overall.

1509: Garcia goes awry with his tee shot at the 4th, but he shouldn't be in too much trouble from the rough. Gossamer touch from Woods at 14 and he's got a chance of a birdie.

1505: Garcia flops on from the greenside rough and saves par at 3 - that belly putter is still red hot. Choi also makes a solid par.

"The Beard Liberation Front has been in contact to say that Miguel Angel Jimenez may be under pressure from golf's 'socially conservative' powers-that-be to shave off his goatee. The BLF believes the R&A will not let a bearded man win their tournament. Apparently, the bosses are hoping Ernie Els wins as he is so smooth he shaves mid-round in the bunkers. We're on the case."
BBC Sport's Matt Slater at Carnoustie

The rough
1501: Garcia chunks his approach at 3 and he'll have a tricky recovery from some clingy rough. Woods is really riding his luck today and he must have some sort of bonus deal with Nike - that's the second spectator he's hit today on the 14th fairway.

European Down
1455: Alastair Forsyth of Scotland has blown up. He started his round one under but has three-putted 3, 4 and 5 and found the out of bounds on the 6th. Nasty. Woods leaves his birdie putt short at 13 but Goosen makes birdie at six to move to three under. DiMarco very nearly sinks his birdie putt at 18 - just one person passing wind in the grandstand would have sent that in. But that's a formidable clubhouse lead nevertheless - a 66 for DiMarco for three under overall.

1451: Garcia leaves his birdie putt at 2 just short but taps in for par. Woods gives himself a chance of birdie at 13 with a cracking seven iron to 15 feet. Choi and Garcia are going blow for blow - the Korean drains his birdie putt at the 2nd to move to five under. There's Prince Andrew hard at work on the fairways of Carnoustie - and they say nurses have it tough. Apologies - DiMarco is in fact five under for the day and three under for the tournament.

European Up
1449: Woods saves par at 12 to stay at even par - relentless from the world number one. McGinley has just burned up the front nine in 33 to move back into the mix at three under. It's all happening at Noustie, I'm struggling to keep up.

European Up
1445: Miguel Angel Jimenez birdies the 2nd to jump to four under and into a share of second. News of Ernie Els - the South African made triple bogey at six after clattering his drive out of bounds and is now two over. Everyone's favourite orangutan-fighting American Boo Weekley has made birdie at 3 and 4 to move to four under.

1442: Garcia and Choi clatter their drives into the first cut on the left of the 2nd fairway and both will have short irons in. Stricker pars the 10th to remain four under and three off the lead.

European Up
US up
1439: First blood to Garcia - unerring from Sergio as he rolls in a putt from 15 feet to move to seven under. Choi, however, lips out and taps in for par. DiMarco of America bends in his putt at 17 to move to three under and four off the lead.

1433: Woods drops his par putt in at 11 to stay even par. Birdies at 5 and 6 for Ireland's Harrington and he's now three under. Choi has 210 yards to the front of the green and he unfurls a beauty to within 10 feet. Garcia follows him on and there are no early signs of nerves from the Spaniard.

1432: Hello you lot and not much time for idle chat as the final group get under way. Korea's KJ Choi pulls out a three wood and lobs his drive down the fairway. Plenty of height on that, but not much distance. And here's Sergio - much tugging and twitching but he punches a long iron straight down the middle. Garcia is wearing what you can only described as a rascal of an outfit - marmalade orange sweater and chilli red slacks. He looks like a giant parrot.

By Sam Lyon

Woman
1429: And talk of the devil - I will now leave you in the capable hands of Ben Dirs to talk you through the progress of Mike Weir et al. As a parting gift here's a picture of the woman hit on the head by Tiger Woods's shot at the sixth. Sadly (for aesthetic reasons only I add), there is no blood evident, but let me assure you it made an almighty thud. Bless 'er.

US down

1422: Woods's challenge stumbles at the 10th, the American bogeying after his putt does not break as much as he had hoped and it goes by the left.

Ball in rough

1420: Dirsy's tip for the Championship Mike (not David) Weir goes right off the first tee and finds the thin rough, but Miguel Angel Jimenez will enjoy his lardy on the walk up the grass after finding the fairway with a nice drive.

European Up

1412: Great start from Lee Westwood - birdie-birdie from the first two holes, the latter coming off the back of a superb approach that left him just six feet from the hole. The Englishman is now just four off the lead.

Sam Torrance
"It's still looking rather pleasant out there at the moment - the bad weather that has been forecast is holding off and let's hope it continues to do so because the quality of golf at the moment is brilliant."
BBC Sport pundit Sam Torrance

US up

1409: So close for Justin Rose, whose birdie attempt at 18 slides past by a matter of inches but that will be an easy par and a magnificent round of 67 for the Englishman. Meanwhile, Chris DiMarco and Steve Stricker continue to make thing look all too easy, grabbing birdies at 14 and seven respectively - and Stricker is now joint second on four under.

European Up

1405: Lee Westwood gets off to the perfect start, birdieing the first from a few feet, and he is now two under alongside fellow Englishman Paul Broadhurst, who birdied the third. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods greets another fortunate bounce on the eighth by smothering the fairway with a projectile stream of snot - lovely - while Pelle Edberg finishes off a blemish-free round of 67 with a birdie at the last.

1400: Scot Alastair Forsyth makes a steady start at the first, putting from 50-60 feet to within a few and that should be a simple par for the 31-year-old.

European Up
1356: Bootiful work from Justin Rose at the 17th, rattling in a 25-foot putt for birdie - his sixth of the day - and he is one under for the tournament now. Americans Steve Stricker and Chris DiMarco are the other big movers of the day, with the pair also four under for the day so far.

1352: The top Britons in the field overnight get under way on the first - Lee Westwood and Alastair Forsyth both finding the fairway with booming drives. Over on two, Els moves to one under par with a fabulous putt from 15 feet.

US up
1347: Ernie Els does his best to replicate Tiger Woods's efforts on the sixth, driving to within a few feet of a couple of witless punters crossing the fairway on the second. In their defence, they were over 380 yards from the tee - brutal drive from the South African that. Anyway, over on seven, Woods brings up his third birdie of the day after a fortunate bounce on his second shot, slipping a lengthy putt in to take him to one under.

European Up
US up
1344: Steve Stricker continues to make the big putts, sinking a beauty at the fifth for his fourth birdie of the round and the American in now joint third at three under. England's Paul Broadhurst, meanwhile, gets going on the first with a birdie of his own, putting from 15 feet.

European Up
1339: Fantastic start for Padraig Harrington, the Irishman sending down a simple birdie putt on the first from five feet and he is now one under par. Meanwhile, Sandy Lyle putts out with a bogey on the last for a round of 73, leaving him six over par.

1337: Woods, his ball now sporting a thin layer of hair, skin and blood, finds the green with a delicate chip but his long putt turned too late for birdie and it's just a par for the American. He throws the ball to caddie Steve Williams - who dashes off in pursuit of the medic's cart that is currently wheeling the lady away. How about that for a 'special' Anglo-American relationship.

1334: Luke Donald finishes his round with four bogeys and a round of 73 means he is out of contention now, bar a miracle on Sunday. Paul Casey, though, holes out for a birdie on 14 and he is in great shape - three under for the day.

1327: Oh dear - it's all gone teen horror flick on the sixth hole with one poor woman smothered in claret having been smashed on the bonce by a wayward second shot from Tiger Woods. She's lying prostrate on the floor, supported by her husband, as Woods kindly offers his apologies, explaining "I didn't mean to hit it over here". Yes, well, obviously. The lady, through the tears, replies with: "Perhaps I can have the ball?" True British grit - you can't beat it. Unfortunately we don't have a ball-embeded-in-head graphic for the website users, but I'll see if I can dig out a picture in a bit.

European Up
US up
1319: A crazy couple of minutes at Carnoustie, with balls rolling in the holes all over. It's two beauties in two from Tiger Woods, who holes from 12 feet on the fifth to go under par and all of a sudden he looks like he's up and running. Justin Rose, meanwhile, sinks a decent putt on 14 to go three under for the day, while Vijah Singh putts from off the green on three to one under. Paul McGinley then gets in on the act when he chips in from the rough stuff on two to go one under.

US up

1311: Zach Johnson pulls a glorious approach out of the bag on 18, dropping it to within a few feet of the hole from 90 yards, and he sees out for par and that's a blemish-free round for the American. And compatriot Steve Stricker is also firing on all cylinders early doors, sinking three straight birdies in the first three holes to take him to two under par and a share of fifth.

US up

1303: A superb putt from Tiger Woods on the fourth from all of 40 feet settles him nicely, and anyone who was writing him off a couple of holes ago needs their head examining. So I won't reveal the text I received from my mate a couple of minutes ago. Zach Johnson, on the verge of a bogey-free round of 68, lays up on the 18th after a disappointing tee shot and, although it was the sensible option with the Burn threatening, it means he will do well to make par.

Maureen Madill

"Tiger Woods is adopting a more cautious approach today, and that's some indication he's not entirely happy with his game at the moment."
BBC Sport pundit Maureen Madill

BBC Sport mole

"We are staying in a variety of rented houses in Carnoustie on an estate that reminds me a touch of 1980s seminal classic The 'Burbs. Paul Casey is staying just round the corner, Gary Lineker and Sam Torrance are opposite and Craig Doyle and Andrew Cotter are three doors up. The house I'm in is rented off a family with young children. As a result I'm in a five-year-old's girls' room, decked out in pink, in a bed with wee proof sheets that's about two foot too small for me."
BBC Sport's TV mole at Carnoustie

"Rain!!! at last. Poulter might just cheer up if he gets into the clubhouse nice and dry. I think the scoring won't get any better today."
Mikehuey on 606

Ball in rough
1257: Paul McGinley is off and running with a decent drive off the first tee, but Tiger Woods's three wood off the fourth misses the fairway and hits the rough stuff. The big man is looking well and truly out of sorts at the moment. Vijay Singh, meanwhile, kicks off with a par on the first with the weather closing in. It won't be pleasant playing in these conditions this afternoon. Or watching in these conditions come to mention it. Unless you have your feet up in the office like my good self of course.

US up
European Up
1251: Massive cheer over on the 14th as veteran Sandy Lyle sinks a gorgeous long putt for eagle and that takes him to four over overall. Chris DiMarco, meanwhile, recovers from bogey at the seventh with a birdie two at the eighth, while Rory McIlroy gets away with just a bogey at six thanks to a lovely 10-foot putt.

Rain

1246: With the rain starting to fall, Vijay Singh tees off at the first, and the Fijian makes no mistake as he batters it down the middle of the fairway.

US down
European Down
1242: Scotland's Ross Bain made a bright start to his round - snatching birdies at four and six - but it is interrupted by a bogey on seven when his putt lips in and out. Over on two, Tiger Woods's par putt goes past, and it is a bogey for the world number one. Sergio Garcia may be watching on with interest ahead of his round. Ian Poulter, meanwhile, finishes off his par at 18 and it's a case of what might've been for him.

1237: A sedate start from Tiger Woods, whose second shot at two leaves him 30 foot from the pin. His birdie attempt goes right and finishes a full six feet from the hole so it will be that naughty little blighter for par.

European Down

1230: Poulter comes away with a bogey at the 17th and his last three holes have left him a visibly broken man. Cheer up son, the 19th hole is barely a stone's throw away now.

US up

1227: Chris DiMarco, who looks as if he's been tangoed, resplendant as he is in a bright orange windcheater, moves to one under with his third birdie of the day, slotting home at the sixth from four feet.

1225: Tiger Woods kicks off with a par, slipping his birdie putt attempt just by on the left hand side. Apparently, Woods's real first name is Eldrick. I never knew that. I can see why he's plumped for Tiger in later life, mind...

US up

1223: With BBC commentator Wayne Grady waxing lyrical over the skintight clothing preferred by the young golfing contingent, rather worryingly, Masters champion Zach Johnson falls agonisingly short of his eagle attempt at 14. It's a birdie for the American, though, and his is a blemish-free three-under round at the moment.

European Down

1219: It goes from bad to worse to worserer for Poulter as he falls into the Burn on 17 off his tee shot. What could have been a stunning round is falling apart and he'll be crying into his Next catalogue later this evening. Rory McIlroy also suffers over on the fourth, bagging a bogey with a wayward putt attempt from eight feet.

"Just been watching Tiger Woods on the practice range crunching long irons towards a bank of menacing cloud edging ever closer to Carnoustie. Woods hit a selection of low stingers, high fades and just a tiny smattering of draws. He left after about 35 minutes as the first drop of rain fell."
BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts at Carnoustie

1216: Prepare the fanfare folks... the Tiger is out on the first tee alongside Austrian Markus Brier. Handshakes all round - how very gentlemanly - but it's soon down to business as he focuses on his first tee shot. Brier sends his drive down the middle and Woods avoids the error of yesterday, swinging beautifully down the line for a comfortable start.

European Down

1213: Ouch - another dropped shot from Ian Poulter, the Englishman lipping in and out on the 16th from 10 feet and his promising round is in need of some TLC on the last two holes.

US up

1211: Apologies, I've been a bit slack in mentioning Chris DiMarco's progress thus far - the American really has found his putting boots, pinching birdies from range at the first and fourth to move to level par and he looks keen to make a move.

"Is Sam Lyon a 'Samuel' or a 'Samantha'? Just curious after referring to poulter as a 'minx'."
James H via text

European Down

1205: It is a double bogey for Poulter, two-putting home to fall to one over. Rory McIlroy misses out on a birdie after putting a little too much pace on his putt attempt at three.

1201: Excellent escape from the rough from Poulter, but he remains 15 foot from the hole and it will take an almighty putt to get away with a bogey. Paul Casey, meanwhile, sinks a 12-footer for birdie at the seventh and he is now two over.

BBC Sport mole
"Carnoustie was rocking last night (rocking for Carnoustie's standards that is). Whilst out I was handed a card with a scantily clad young lady on the front advertising a Gentleman's Club in Dundee. Where's the relevance to golf? I hear you cry. Well, for the duration of the Open it has changed it's name to StripTee's. See what they've done there? Pure genius. Birdies could also be a good name."
BBC Sport's TV mole at Carnoustie

European Down

1156: Justin Rose's string of birdies comes to an end as he drops a shot at the seventh after finding the rough with his tee shot.

Ball in rough

1153: All eyes are on Ian Poulter - which, let's be honest, is exactly how he likes it, the cheeky minx - as he negotiates his way out of the rough on 15. But it's disappointment as he snaps it left and back into the rough on the other side. He will take a drop and he'll well to escape with a bogey. Elsewhere, Toru Taniguchi gets rolling with a 20-foot putt at the second.

"How is the lovechild of pele and stefan edberg doing today?"
Anon via text

I can tell you, mystery texter, that Pelle Edberg has just slid a neat putt attempt inches past the ninth and remains two over following his sixth-hole birdie.

European Up

1144: Stunning recovery from Ian Poulter on 14, playing out of the greenside bunker to within a couple of feet of the hole and it's another birdie - he is now one under overall and if he can hold it together he will be well and truly in the mix by the end of play. Meanwhile, over on the first Rory McIlroy kicks off with a par.

European Down

1140: Luke Donald continues to peak and trough his way around the course, following a couple of birdies with a bogey five at the ninth. Meanwhile, the tricky 14th holds no mocker over John Senden, the Aussie gliding home a stunning 60-foot putt for eagle.

"I have masssive respect for Sam Torrance, but his prediction that Rangers and former Everton defender David Weir will win the Open, seems a little off the mark if you ask me."
TheBigTreesy on 606

Well spotted sir, a dozen happy thoughts and good vibes are headed your way by way of recompense. You put three 's's in massive by the way.

European Up

1134: Disappointment for Poulter on 13 as he pushes his birdie chance past. The Englishman saves par but that's a big chance missed. However, over on six, Justin Rose pulls off a fantastic wedge to escape the sand and set up a simple opportunity for birdie and he makes it join the pack on level par.

1130: A huge cheer erupts on the first tee as Rory McIlroy steps up to get his round under way. The Northern Irish amateur drills one straight down the middle and he is up and running.

European Down
European Up
1127: Luke Donald recovers well after a bogey at six, holing a 12-foot putt at the seventh for birdie and he move back to two over. Over on six, though, Justin Rose sees what looks a fabulous approach drift off the back of the green and into the bunker, leaving him a tricky couple of shots.

European Up

1123: Justin Rose gets his round going with a couple of brilliant birdies at four and five, while Ian Poulter's early fine form shows no sign of abating as he spanks a glorious tee shot to within a few feet of the hole at 13. Great chance of a fifth birdie of the day there. Nick Dougherty, meanwhile, birdies two and three to go one over. Great few minutes for the English.

1121: A bit more banter from the BBC studio, where Gary Lineker admits he would love to be playing partner to Tiger Woods for a round, to which Sam Torrance replies that he "always dreamed of playing with Jack Nicklaus". I always knew those golf boys were close, but that's a shock I tell you.

"Someone has just told me that you can't actually see the sea from this links course. I'm heading out to try to disprove that claim!"
BBC Sport's Stuart Roach at Carnoustie

US down

1117: The Hunter is becoming the hunted at Carnasty, the American dropping another shot at the 12th and his fabulous start is coming undone at the seams somewhat. And the same can be said of Kevin Stadler, who takes a double-bogey six at the 10th to drop back to three over.

European Up

1111: A fantastic second shot on the 11th from Ian Poulter, dropping the ball to within five foot of the hole with a seven iron, sets up his fourth birdie of the day and the Englishman is building a fabulous round. Meanwhile, Gary Lineker and Nick Faldo continue to chew the fat/grope eachother's egos in the BBC studio - I can imagine those two out on the Strip tonight causing some damage - mothers of Angus, lock up your daughters...

"C'mon Sam we are having a sweepstake on how long it will take you to do your inevitable 'moving day' line."
Jim, London via text

I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at Jim - but whoever has 1104 in the sweep gets the pot. I want half.

Sam Torrance

"I fancy Garcia - he's holing out well, which is something that hasn't always worked for him, and he is looking fantastic on the approach. But then, Jim Furyk will be there or thereabouts come Sunday I'm sure, and Mike Weir is also looking good. It's too close to call, it really is."
BBC Sport pundit Sam Torrance

European Up

1057: Of the 26 players out on the course, only seven are over par for the day, an indication of the decent scoring conditions at the moment. One of those profiting is Englishman Brian Davis, who grabs his second birdie of the day at six with a 15-foot putt to move to two over, while Scotland's Sandy Lyle rolls in his fourth straight par to stay one under for the day, three over overall.

US up

1051: Kevin Stadler joins the pack at one over with a birdie two at the eighth and he, Ian Poulter and Hunter Mahan are setting the early pace this morning at three under for the day.

Ken Brown

1045: Although still overcast, the weather is remaining dry at Carnoustie and that has prompted the BBC's intrepid analyst Ken Brown to get out and about on the course, taking a look at a few of the pin positions. Apparently the 18th is not as hard as previous days, lying 10 foot on, seven from the right and he is tipping some low scores on that hole if players can avoid the hazards.

European Up

1042: Brilliance from Luke Donald on the fourth, snatching a birdie from a poor position off the tee and he is now two over.

1037: Dougie Donnelly grabs a quick chat with the mouse-like Rory McIlroy on the practice range, almost wearing one of the young Northern Irishman's swings as he creeps up to interview him. And a beaming McIlroy declares: "It was all about getting the silver medal this championship but I think a top 10 finish is definitely achievable." Fighting talk from the youngster.

US up
European Up

1022: The atmosphere is building nicely with the likes of Luke Donald and Sandy Lyle now out on the course - and the pair get off to the perfect start as each pick up a shot at the first. Americans Scott Verplank, Ben Curtis and Kevin Stadler also pick up birdies and it would appear the conditions are set fair for scoring low this morning.

US down

1017: Well, it was nice while it lasted, Hunter Mahan slips to one over after a bogey at the eighth.

"Poulter playing well under the influence of sensible attire - could this be the end of Pants Poulter?"
gary clare via text

European Up

1009: The third day is all about making your move, says Gary Lineker, and Ian Poulter is doing just that - birdieing the par-five sixth for the third straight day to go one over.

1003: Hold the phone - could we be looking at a little bit of a charge from Mahan? 'The' Hunter notches his fourth birdie of the morning with a four at the sixth and is now just six shots off the lead. I'm tipping Wolf, Cobra and Saracen to make late entries into the USPGA...

"Can we dwell a little longer on your 0926 entry? Would be a shame not to do a full Panorama job on this! Come on Gabby, spill the beans..."
Tim Andrew via text

European Up

0952: Disappointing news for all of you hoping to rip the mickey out of Ian Poulter all day for another fashion faux-pas to rank alongside an Elton John birthday outfit - the Englishman is decked out in, dare I say it, a rather classy all-black number with white trim. And it appears to paying dividends at the moment as he sinks a birdie at the fifth to go two over. Gwan the Poults!

BBC Sport mole

"Lots to look forward to on BBC TV this morning. Nick Faldo will be joining Gary Lineker during the first hour of our coverage and Chris Evans has just arrived in the studio as well. Make sure you tune in - should be very good."
BBC Sport's TV mole at Carnoustie

"Like life itself, golf is a story of morning, noon and night. Or, in this case, Garcia, Woods and Choi."
Douggielee on 606 (I have no idea what he means either)

US up

0940: Bosh! Piers Newbery's new favourite Hunter Mahan is taking the course by storm at the moment, taking a three at the fifth to go one over and he is three under for the day. In fact, but for a double bogey at the last yesterday, the 25-year-old would be well and truly in the mix... a headline writer's dream that would be.

US up

0934: The Americans are turning it on a bit this morning as Zach Johnson and Kevin Sadler join Tom Lehman on three over with birdies at one and two respectively.

0926: Away from the golf, Gabby Yorath is reminiscing on Five Live about travelling with the British team to the 1990 Commonwealth Games and having her "eyes opened" by all the corridor-creeping and, erm, team bonding shall we say that occurred between the sexes. All kinds of unforgivable images are crossing my mind as we speak.

0919: Tom Lehman rolls back the years with a fabulous birdie at the second - I say fabulous, it could well have been utterly fluky, but all it says is 'three' on my leaderboard - while Kiwi Michael Campbell and Englishman David Howell both get under way with par-par.

"Hunter is a magnificent name. I'm going to call my first-born man cub Hunter - after Hunter Thompson though, not Hunter Mahan. I quite fancy Thor and then Zeus for the next two."
BBC Sport's Piers Newbery

US up

0911: Hunter Mahan is rolling out the big shots this morning, snaring his second consecutive birdie with a three on the second. That takes him to two over and just eight shots off the lead - the big guy is making his move. By the way, if at any time it becomes plainly obvious that I'm working solely off the leaderboard with TV and radio coverage yet to start, let me know...

"Don't forget the outstanding Lightning and the deadly Nightshade. Aroogaaah!"
Phil the Greek, Espana via text

European Up

0904: Ian Poulter is out on the course - news on his get-up for all you wannabe fashionistas to come - and the Englishman receives the first big cheer of the day with a birdie at the first.

Peter Alliss
"Sergio has been in this position - and a lot further down the line as well - before in majors and not been able to hold on. Today is massive and everything can go wrong for anyone and everyone on the third day, so it would be presumptuous to say he's going to do it. But then, maybe his time has finally come."
BBC Sport's Peter Alliss

US up

0857: First birdie of the day goes to American Hunter Mahan, who takes a three at the first to move to three over par. What a great name that is - Hunter. I wonder if he was named after the Gladiator from that rubbish ITV series a while back. That said, Jet was a bit of a Saturday-evening wonder huh? Any woman that can play air guitar on her leg is all right by me.

0848: It's a disastrous start for Won Joon Lee as he kicks off his third round with bogey-double bogey. I would imagine that will be his last mention in the commentary, but you never know...

0840: Apparently, since the first Open Championship in 1860, only 11 players have ever led from first round to last and secured the title. Pah! I laugh in the face of history, statistics and, most often, logic, so I refuse to back down on my Garcia tip. Though I may stick a few bob on KJ Choi too. And probably Jimenez. Oh, and Woods - well, it would be rude not to wouldn't it.

0831: Won Joon Lee gets Saturday's play started with a neat drive straight down the middle of the fairway and the Scottish faithful are already starting to pack the aisles, despite the likes of Colin Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie failing to make the cut. The home challenge will be led by Alastair Forsyth, the 31-year-old lying on one under and he will get going at 1350.

0828: Ooh, almost forgot - don't forget to get your texts (81111) and chat on 606 coming in. Ben Dirs's money is on Mike Weir apparently but, being the romantic I am, I'm sticking with Sergio to see it home from pillar to post... Let us know your thoughts.

0820: Hello hello hello. After barely making the most of the extra lie-in this morning, it's all go as we approach the start of the third round of the Open. One can only hope the players, unlike myself, resisted the urge to go on a Friday night Barry (McGuigan - Big 'un) and are fresh faced and up and at 'em bright and early...

Rain

Australian Won Joon Lee and Mark Foster are first off the tee at 0830, with the leading pack not due out until later this afternoon. Conditions are said to be overcast and rain is predicted all day.

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