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  Saturday, 22 July, 2000, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Woods on the brink of history
Tiger Woods hits out from the tee
Tiger Woods drives the 379-yard 10th at St Andrews
As play got underway in the final round of the Open most of the field accepted that barring disaster, the name of Tiger Woods is likely to be engraved on the Claret Jug at the end of the day.

The young maestro takes a six-shot lead into the final day of the Championship at St Andrews when his round begins at 1440 BST.

And while his good friend David Duval will join him for the last 18 holes with the hope of causing a sensational turnaround, only an upset of earth-shattering proportions will deny Woods his place in golfing legend.

Woods, the US Open champion, shot a five-under 67 to keep him well on course to become only the fifth player in history to win the all four Major tournaments.

Bernhard Langer shot a third round 66
Bernhard Langer shot a third round 66
He ended Saturday at 16-under, with fellow American Duval on 10-under along with Denmark's Thomas Bjorn.

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke missed out on many birdie opportunities but still managed to hit a 68 which took him to nine-under going into the final round.

Duval shot a superb 66 to bring himself right up the field while German Bernhard Langer also produced the same score which took two-times US Masters champion to six-under.

After Woods bogeyed the second, his first dropped shot of the tournament, there was no looking back as he proceeded to birdie the eighth, ninth, 12th, 13th, 14th and the final hole to send the watching galleries into raptures.

The rest of the field must have wondered if the young legend in the making would falter again - they were to be left disappointed.

Nick Faldo hit the water on the first
Nick Faldo hit the water on the first
The leaderboard changed rapidly behind Woods during the course of the day, but as the final groups entered the back nine it was left-hander Steve Flesch, playing in his first Open, who was second on 10-under.

Ernie Els had been on the same mark, but drove into an unplayable lie on the driveable 314-yard 12th and double-bogeyed.

Second at halfway on his Open debut was not something Woods' playing partner David Toms had expected on such an unfamiliar type of course, but when the three-time Major winner three-putted the second, he holed a five-footer for birdie and suddenly the gap between them was only one.

Meanwhile, four other players - world number two Duval, Bjorn, first day leader Els and left-hander Flesch - also tasted second place.

Ulsterman Darren Clarke went into the turn in 33, with birdies at the second, fifth and seventh.

Clarke three-putted the 10th, hitting his first long-range effort eight feet wide, but a nine-footer at the 12th got him back to eight under and a late rally saw him reach nine-under by the end of the day.

Frustration

The challenge of Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood and Nick Faldo faded into the background as the third day took its toll.

Montgomerie's putting was again the weak link in his game, but the moment he knew there was to be no Paul Lawrie-like recovery from 10 off the lead came when he double-bogeyed the 456-yard 15th. He finished with a 72 to remain three under.

Westwood, winner of his two previous tournaments, slipped quietly away, bogeying the second, sixth and ninth to turn at one under in 39 and then failing to make up the lost ground coming home.

Faldo's start was reminiscent of his last-round opening at Loch Lomond last weekend. One off the lead then he began bogey-double bogey, whereas this time, eight adrift of Woods when he resumed, he went into the burn and double-bogeyed, then dropped another at the next.

The 1990 St Andrews champion - his record 18-under-par master class - finished with a 75 to be down on level par.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Iain Carter
reports on the third round
The Open at St.Andrews
20th - 23rd July

Launch Scorecard
See also:

22 Jul 00 | The Open
22 Jul 00 | The Open
22 Jul 00 | The Open
22 Jul 00 | The Open
22 Jul 00 | The Open
22 Jul 00 | Photo Galleries
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