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For a while, it seemed like Adam Scott was firmly on his way to winning this year's Open Championship, but things unraveled in stunning fashion for him as Ernie Els rallied from four strokes down with just three holes remaining to have his name etched into the Claret Jug once again.
Looking to win his first career major, Scott seemed to be totally in control entering the 15th hole, but he proceeded to bogey the final four holes of the round after putting himself in a clear position to win. Els took advantage of that opening, making a birdie on the 18th hole to put him one stroke ahead as Scott entered the final hole.
After shooting scores of 64, 67 and 68 over the first three rounds, Scott appeared destined to win his first major; instead, he treated fans to a stunning disappointment. A birdie on the 14th hole put him at 10-under for the tournament, four strokes ahead of the field with just four holes remaining, but a series of poor shots on the final four holes allowed Els to rally for the stunning victory.
On the 18th hole, Scott made a fantastic shot to put himself in a position to force a playoff, but he missed a reasonable put from eight feet out that would've extended his bid for victory.
The schedule and pairings for the final round of the British Open have been released. The final pairing of the day will feature Adam Scott, who leads at 11-under, and Graeme McDowell. McDowell enters the final round at 7-under and is tied with Brandt Snedeker, who will be paired with Tiger Woods. Northwestern alum Luke Donald will be paired with Kyle Stanley, while University of Illinois alum Steve Stricker will be paired with Peter Hanson. Here is a look at the last five pairings for Sunday:
7:50 a.m. CT -- Bubba Watson, Thomas Aiken
8:00 a.m. CT -- Bill Haas, Thorbjorn Olesen
8:10 a.m. CT-- Ernie Els, Zach Johnson
8:20 a.m. CT -- Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker
8:30 a.m. CT -- Graeme McDowell, Adam Scott
Heading into the final round of the 2012 British Open, Adam Scott possesses a four-stroke lead over the rest of the field. Scott has long been considered one of the best young talents in golf, and after his play through the first three rounds, he looks set to break through with his first win in a major.
Scott, who sits at -11, is four strokes ahead of both Graeme McDowell and Brandt Snedeker. McDowell closed out the third round with a 67, while Snedeker struggled and shot a 73. Tiger Woods sits at -6 and is five strokes off the lead. He will be paired with Snedeker on Sunday. Zach Johnson and Ernie Els are both six strokes behind Scott.
Luke Donald delivered another steady round, shooting +1, and is 10 strokes behind Scott. Steve Stricker struggled on Saturday and sits at +1 heading into the final round.
Pairings and tee times have been released for the third round of the British Open. Both Northwestern alum Luke Donald and Illinois alum Steve Stricker played solid golf during the first two rounds, and they'll be among the last groups to start. Here's a look at the last seven groups to tee off:
8:20 a.m. CT -- James Morrison, Steve Stricker
8:30 a.m. CT -- Luke Donald, Steve Alker
8:40 a.m. CT -- Ernie Els, Thomas Aiken
8:50 a.m. CT -- Jason Dufner, Graeme McDowell
9:00 a.m. CT -- Matt Kuchar, Paul Lawrie
9:10 a.m. CT -- Thorbjorn Olesen, Tiger Woods
9:20 a.m. CT -- Adam Scott, Brent Snedeker
For a complete list of pairings and tee times, visit the British Open's website.
Luke Donald followed up an underwhelming first day in the 2012 British Open with a very solid second-round on Friday at the Royal Lytham & Saint Annes Golf Club. Donald shot a 68 on Friday and moved into the top-10 on the leaderboard thanks in large part to a string of birdies on holes Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 8. He recorded a total of five birdies in the second round and is now 2-under par for the tournament. The Northwestern alumnus and top-ranked golfer in the world is still eight shots behind tournament leader Brandt Snedecker (10-under), but he may hit his stride heading into the weekend rounds.
Luke Donald had an underwhelming first day at Royal Lytham & Saint Annes Golf Club considering his lofty standing as the world's top-ranked player, but he can get back into contention with a stronger performance on Friday. On Thursday, the Northwestern grad shot an even 70 in the first round at the Open Championship.
Donald starts at 3:42 a.m. CT, which equates to a 9:42 a.m. start time across the pond in England. He's once again paired with Geoff Ogilvy and Phil Mickelson, who had a brutally disappointing first day at the Open. The sport's most famous lefty shot 3-over, putting him in a serious hole as he looks for another major championship.
Illinois grad Steve Stricker starts right after Donald at 3:53 a.m. CT, once again paired with Toru Taniguchi and Anders Hansen.
The 2012 British Open continues along on Thursday as all the competitors have finished the first round and The Open Leaderboard begins to take shape. Here is a look at the top group, courtesy of Golf.com:
Northwestern grad and top-ranked golfer Luke Donald currently sits tied at No. 37 at par (70). Donald is considered a favorite to win the tournament, but his bogey on the 18th hole on Thursday puts a considerable damper on that aim.
Meanwhile, Illinois grad Steve Stricker has started in a smashing fashion. On the merit of one eagle, four birdies and one bogey and one double bogey, Stricker has found himself at 3-under for the sixth place tie -- with eight other golfers.
On Thursday, the 2012 British Open got underway with the opening round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Northwestern alumnus Luke Donald teed off with Phil Mickelson and Geoff Ogilvy on Thursday morning, and through five holes he posted a 1-under thanks to a birdie on hole No. 3.
Meanwhile, Illinois Fighting Illini alumnus Steve Stricker opened his round paired with Toru Taniguchi and Anders Hansen, and he started with four straight par holes. Tiger Woods shot 3-under in the first round despite some excitement on No. 15, as described by Emily Kay of SB Nation golf:
As if to prove his pre-tourney complaint that England's record-breaking wet weather had made the dreaded rough "almost unplayable," Woods' errant tee shot found the deep, wispy fescue with the treacherous soggy grass underneath. Again, as if on cue, Woods stood in the knee-high fescue and took a mighty swipe at the ball, which, after the lush, sodden grasses and vines caught his iron's shaft and hossel and shut the club face, moved maybe 120 yards, but farther left into the same gunge.
Woods finished No. 15 with a bogey put, but he could be building some solid momentum going into rest of the tournament. See the up-to-date British Open Leaderboard here.
The 2012 edition of the British Open gets under way bright and early Thursday morning, and ESPN will have tons of coverage of the event all weekend long.
Here's a look at the British Open TV schedule (All times Central.):
Thursday, July 19: 4:00 a.m. -- 2:00 p.m. on ESPN Friday, July 20: 4:00 a.m. -- 2:00 p.m. on ESPN Saturday, July 21: 6:00 a.m. -- 1:30 p.m. on ESPN Sunday, July 22: 5:00 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m. on ESPN; 2:00 p.m. -- 5:00 p.m. on ABC
You can also stream the tournament online at ESPN3.com; there will be several different viewing options offered there, and coverage gets started at 2:30 a.m. CT.
Luke Donald will enter the 2012 British Open at Royal Lytham & Saint Annes Golf Club as the world's No. 1 player, but the Northwestern alum certainly didn't fare well at the last major on golf's schedule. Donald missed the cut at the U.S. Open by finishing 12-over. The England native will try to get back on track when he tees off in a group with Phil Mickelson and Geoff Ogilvy at 8:43 local time on Thursday.
Illinois Fighting Illini alum Steve Stricker will be paired with Toru Taniguchi and Anders Hansen on Thursday. Stricker's group will tee off at 8:54 a.m. Tiger Woods will tee off with Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia at 5:42 a.m. CT.
8:43 a.m. -- Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy
8:54 a.m - Steve Stricker, Toru Taniguchi, Anders Hansen
Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for news, broadcast times and leaderboard updates throughout the 2012 British Open tournament, beginning this Thursday.