Tracker: McIlroy again grows Open lead

Rory McIlroy had a bogey and birdie in his opening eight holes on Saturday.

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Open Championship

Royal Liverpool GC, Hoylake, England

7/17/2014 - 7/20/2014

Pos Name Thru Today Overall
1 Rory McIlroy $1,665,788 600 -17
2 Rickie Fowler $785,910 270 -15
2 Sergio Garcia $785,910 270 -15
4 Jim Furyk $478,380 150 -13
5 Marc Leishman $359,639 115 -12
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Rory McIlroy began Saturday's third round at the British Open with a four-shot lead – then grew it to six shots thanks to a third-round 68 at Royal Liverpool that saw him card two eagles and a birdie in his last five holes.

Can anyone catch him? Rickie Fowler has the best shot thanks to his Saturday 68, with Sergio Garcia another shot back – just in case McIlroy repeats his Honda Classic form from earlier this year and can't close out.

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, again will start near the back of the post-cut field after a 1-over 73 that, like Friday's round, was capped with a birdie.

Recap the third-round highlights from Hoylake, England right here – and scroll down for previous coverage of Open Championship happenings at Royal Liverpool!

• • •

Hole 18: Par 5, 561 yards (RORY McILROY)

Off the tee: Left-center here for McIlroy and in the fairway. He's got options from here for sure.

• From the fairway: Why lay up when you're playing this well? McIlroy fires a dart from about 240 that barely clears the front bunker and bounds right toward the pin with less than 10 feet left for eagle.

• On the green: He makes it look easy and ends the day with eagle.

RORY ON THE DAY: 4-under 68; leader by six at 16 under.

• Elsewhere on the course: U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson finishes with an even-par back nine for a 75 that drops him to T-68 at 3 over. He'll tee off mighty early Sunday, but that could leave time for a scouting mission.

Rickie Fowler, meanwhile, birdies the 18th with a nice up-and-down for a 68 that pulls him within four of McIlroy as he heads to the clubhouse.

• • •

Hole 9: Par 3, 197 yards (TIGER WOODS)

Off the tee: Fabulous shot here from Tiger, as the ball had eyes for the pin all along and stops about 10 feet or so short, maybe closer.

• On the green: Drano. That'll bring you back, as they say.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1-over 73; T-58 at 3 over as he heads in.

• • •

Hole 17: Par 4, 458 yards (RORY McILROY)

Off the tee: Dead center of the fairway. McIlroy has the big stick locked in.

• On the approach: McIlroy misses long and left here, finding the rough. He's got plenty of green to work with for an up-and-down, ti would seem.

• Around the green: A methodical swing gets the ball on the green, but not hard enough – the ball can't clear a crest and it rolls off, back toward McIlroy. Time to reload and try again. This time he takes putter from the fringe and nearly holes it for par. Tap-in bogey.

RORY ON THE DAY: 2 under; leader by 5 at 14 under.

• Elsewhere on the course: Sergio Garcia birdies the 16th to rise to T-2 at 10 under alongside Rickie Fowler, but immediately gives it back with trouble at the 17th and a missed par putt from the fringe to drop back to 9 under – still tied for second with Fowler, who also bogeys.

• • •

Hole 8: Par 4, 431 yards (TIGER WOODS)

Off the tee: Tiger finds the fairway this time, which simplifies things.

On the approach: Good shot here finds the green, leaving Tiger with a moderate look at birdie.

• On the green: Tiger's birdie try misses here, leaving him a couple of feet for par. That one falls.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 over; T-62 at 4 over.

• • •

Hole 16: Par 5, 577 yards (RORY McILROY)

Off the tee: McIlroy hits it to the right side of the fairway, well past the bunkers on the left.

• From the fairway: McIlroy's approach starts right and works its way to the back left of the green, maybe 15-20 feet from the back-center pin. Eagle here would make a statement.

• On the green: The speed is good, the line is perfect and McIlroy has made his eagle putt to against stretch his lead to a commanding one.

RORY ON THE DAY: 3 under, leader by five.

• Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler finds trouble on the 16th and leaves himself about a 10-footer for par, which he runs past the hole on the right side. The bogey tap-in leaves him three back of McIlroy, still solo second at 10 under with Sergio Garcia at 9 under.

• • •

Hole 7: Par 4, 480 yards (TIGER WOODS)

Off the tee: Bad miss for Tiger here in the deep gorse, and a long but fruitless search ensues. Back to the tee. This time he finds the edge of a bunker.

• On the approach: From the sand, Tiger finds the rough. Then he gets it onto the green in five.

• On the green: Tiger misses his putt and settles for a difficult, triple-bogey 7.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 over, T-62 at 4 over.

• • •

Hole 6: Par 3, 201 yards (TIGER WOODS)

Off the tee: Tiger misses the green right and short, and will need to get up and down if he's to make his fourth straight par.

• Around the green: Putting it from the fairway cut, Tiger gets it inside 5 feet and cashes in on the par attempt.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under; T-45 at 1 over with three to play.

• • •

Hole 15: Par 3, 161 yards (RORY McILROY)

• Off the tee: With pitching wedge to the left side of the green, McIlroy gives himself a moderate chance for birdie here.

• On the green: A solid roll for birdie doesn't miss by much and allows McIlroy to tap in for a textbook par.

RORY ON THE DAY: 1 under; leader by two at 13 under.

• Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler steadies himself with a par at the 15th to remain 11 under, two back of McIlroy.

• • •

Hole 14: Par 4, 454 yards (RORY McILROY)

The last five holes will be gut-check time for both McIlroy and Fowler as they try to stay atop the leaderboard.

Off the tee: Iron finds the middle of the fairway for McIlroy.

Approach shot: Solid second ball to about 30 feet under the hole.

On the green: Wow, what a putt, as Rory McIlroy regains his two-shot advantage with a birdie bomb.

RORY ON THE DAY: 1 under (13 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler lips out on a 20-foot, par-saving putt and picks up a bogey to fall back to 11 under.

• • •

Hole 5: Par 5, 528 yards (TIGER WOODS)

The last "scoring" hole for Tiger on Saturday, and he's managed his way around the course fairly well today, outside of the double at No. 2.

Off the tee: Back to his Thursday game plan and he takes iron off the tee.

Second shot: Tiger tries to get there with fairway metal, but comes up just short of the green.

Around the green: His long chip comes up about 20 feet short.

On the green: His birdie attempt misses and another par for Tiger.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (1 over for tournament)

• • •

Hole 13: Par 3, 194 yards (RORY McILROY)

Rory McIlroy has had a few loose putts today, including that par miss at 12. Rickie Fowler has not had such moments on Saturday.

Off the tee: Poor tee ball here, as it fades right and kicks off the side of the green and into the long rough. The ball is sitting up, however.

Around the green: McIlroy hits a solid shot that stops about 8 feet from the hole.

On the green: A big par save here for McIlroy, as he puts it in the heart of the cup.

RORY ON THE DAY: Even (12 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole 4: Par 4, 372 yards (TIGER WOODS)

Tiger now finds himself 13 shots off the lead and simply fighting using these two rounds to get back into competitive shape. He's had some very good and some not-so-good moments today.

Off the tee: Iron right down the middle again.

Approach shot: A poor second ball here, as it runs through the green.

Around the green: A fairly easy up-and-down here and Tiger saves par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (1 over for tournament)

• • •

Hole 12: Par 4, 447 yards (RORY McILROY)

That was a big birdie for Rory McIlroy, as Rickie Fowler is charging hard a hole in front of him.

Off the tee: McIlroy finds the long rough on the right.

Approach shot: Buried in the long stuff, McIlroy tries to simply get it out, but it skips to the rough on the left side of the fairway. The third shot is a good one, stopping about 5 feet under the hole.

On the green: McIlroy's par putt lips out and he now shares the lead with Fowler at 12 under.

RORY ON THE DAY: Even (12 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler birdies his third consecutive hole, making a 4-footer on No. 12 into a share of the lead.

• • •

Hole 3: Par 4, 426 yards (TIGER WOODS)

Tiger is now 4 over on the second hole for the week.

Off the tee: Iron finds the middle of the fairway.

• Approach shot: Tiger finds the middle of the green, leaving a mid-range birdie try.

On the green: The birdie putt gets close, but Tiger settles for a par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (1 over for tournament)

• • •

Hole 11: Par 4, 391 yards (RORY McILROY)

No birdie at 10 could prove costly as they head down the stretch run today, as Rickie Fowler did convert there to make up ground.

Off the tee: Iron off the tee and he finds the right fairway.

Approach shot: A nice second ball here, landing it pin high and spinning it back to about 10 feet.

On the green: McIlroy drains the birdie putt to regain a two-shot advantage.

RORY ON THE DAY: 1 under (13 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler is en fuego, draining another 20-footer, this time on 11 to move to 11 under and just two off McIlroy's lead.

• • •

Hole 2: Par 4, 454 yards (TIGER WOODS)

While he still has a good crowd, Tiger isn't the focus of attention today at Hoylake, and he seems to be thriving with that. He has four birdies against a bogey through 10 holes and is now back in the red for the tournament.

Off the tee: For the first time, Tiger is in trouble on a driving hole, finding a pot bunker.

Approach shot: Has to simply blast back out to the fairway, and then his third shot rolls back off the green.

Around the green: His chip gets to about 4 feet.

On the green: Tiger misses the bogey putt and picks up a deadly double bogey.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (1 over for tournament)

• • •

Hole 10: Par 5, 532 yards (RORY McILROY)

Solid opening nine for Rory McIlroy and now he heads to the back nine, where he is 7 under with no bogeys on the week.

Off the tee: Driver here for McIlroy and he starts leaning left, and the ball listens, getting a good kick and it settles on the right side of the fairway.

Second shot: McIlroy goes for it and finds a pot bunker on the right side of the green.

Around the green: McIlroy's ball from the sand is solid, leaving about 15 feet for birdie.

On the green: For the first time this week, McIlroy does not birdie the 10th hole, sending the putt past on the right and he settles for par.

RORY ON THE DAY: Even (12 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler bends in a 20-footer for birdie on No. 10 to move to 10 under, alone in second place.

• • •

Hole 1: Par 4, 458 yards (TIGER WOODS)

Very solid first nine for Tiger Woods, a four-shot improvement over Friday as he makes the turn at 2 under on the day and even for the tournament. Tiger is 3 over on the 1st hole this week.

Off the tee: Tiger puts his tee ball right down the throat of the fairway.

Approach shot: Tiger hits a fantastic shot to 2 feet.

On the green: And another birdie for Tiger. That's four on the day.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (1 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole 9: Par 3, 197 yards (RORY McILROY)

Rory McIlroy is keeping his distance from the field, still three ahead of both Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler, who are playing in the group in front of him. Fowler and Garcia are 3 under on their respective rounds.

Off the tee: McIlroy hooks his tee ball well left, nearly hitting a camera operator and it settles deep in the rough.

Around the green: McIlroy's second shot is a beauty, coming to rest about 5 feet to the right of the hole.

On the green: McIlroy reads this par putt perfectly and saves par despite the wayward tee shot. That's twice on the front nine that he recovered from the long stuff.

RORY ON THE DAY: Even (12 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole 18: Par 5, 561 yards (TIGER WOODS)

That was a big par save for Tiger at 17, even if just for confidence. Now, to the hole that saved the weekend for Tiger.

Off the tee: 3-wood off the tee finds the left rough.

Second shot: He can only hack back out to the fairway.

Approach shot: He's all over the flag on this one and he'll have a birdie try.

Around the green: Tiger's birdie attempt comes up short and he taps in for par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (Even for tournament)

• • •

Hole 8: Par 4, 431 yards (RORY McILROY)

That was a great par save for McIlroy at No. 7, really keeping him in the driver's seat as those chasing him have calmed down a bit.

Off the tee: Iron into the throat of the fairway.

Approach shot: From just over 180 yards, McIlroy lands it just under the pin and it rolls out to about 12 feet.

On the green: McIlroy burns the edge, but settles for a par and remains three ahead of Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia.

RORY ON THE DAY: Even (12 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole 7: Par 4, 480 yards (RORY McILROY)

McIlroy moves to the most difficult hole on the course, the par-4 seventh. McIlroy has looked fairly collected today, outside of his opening two holes that were a bit shaky.

Off the tee: McIlroy immediately starts motioning right with his hand and it finds the long rough, just in front of the patrons lining the fairway.

Second shot: McIlroy has to simply chop out and get it back to the fairway.

Approach shot: A solid shot to about 18 feet right of the hole, which he'll have to save par.

On the green: Drains it for an all-world par save out of the deep stuff. Remains three ahead of the field.

RORY ON THE DAY: Even (12 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole 17: Par 4, 458 yards (TIGER WOODS)

Tiger moves onto a hole that ate him up on Friday, where a triple-bogey put him in jeopardy of missing the cut.

Off the tee: No driver today, but his iron still drifts into the right rough.

Approach shot: Second shot comes up short of the green and he'll have to chip from the right.

Around the green: Chip comes up short as well, leaving him 15 feet to save par.

On the green: And he drains the par putt, exacting some of those demons from Friday.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (Even for the tournament)

• • •

Hole 16: Par 5, 577 yards (TIGER WOODS)

Tiger can rebound quickly from that bogey on No. 15 by taking advantage of another par 5.

Off the tee: Tiger takes driver here and flirts with the right edge of the fairway.

Second shot: With fairway metal, Tiger comes up short of the green and in the rough.

Around the green: Tiger's chip runs about 15 feet behind the hole.

On the green: Putting from about 15 feet, Tiger drains the birdie putt to get back to even for the tournament.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (Even for the tournament)

• • •

Hole 6: Par 3, 201 yards (RORY McILROY)

Nice two-putt birdie for McIlroy at No. 5, although Rickie Fowler is applying plenty of pressure right now after back-to-back birdies on Nos. 5-6.

Off the tee: McIlroy comes up short of the green and it rolls back to about 12 yards in front, leaving a medium-sized chip to the front-left hole location.

Around the green: Deft touch from McIlroy here, as he gets his chip to about 18 inches under the hole.

On the green: Easy par for McIlroy.

RORY ON THE DAY: Even (12 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole 15: Par 3, 161 yards (TIGER WOODS)

A day after everything seemed to be stressful, Tiger is sailing along so far today, keeping himself out of trouble. Of course, there are 13 holes still to play and weather still approaching Hoylake.

Off the tee: Well, there is his first missed green, as he pulls his tee ball into a pot bunker.

Around the green: Tiger hits a nice sand shot to about 6 feet.

On the green: Tiger misses the par-saving putt and picks up his first bogey of the day.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (1 over for tournament)

• • •

Hole 5: Par 5, 528 yards (RORY McILROY)

Solid three holes since his opening bogey, although his reads on the greens have definitely been a bit off.

Off the tee: Big rip from McIlroy here and he is just in the right rough.

Second shot: McIlroy gets to the green in two and leaves about 60 feet under the hole for eagle.

On the green: McIlroy's eagle attempt stops about 5 feet short of the cup. But he does make that for his first birdie of the day.

RORY ON THE DAY: Even (12 under for the tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Charl Schwartzel is on fire right now, running off his third straight birdie, holing a 30-footer on No. 6 to move to 9 under and into a tie for third with Dustin Johnson. Rickie Fowler has move into solo second with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 5-6.

• • •

Hole 14: Par 4, 454 yards (TIGER WOODS)

The wet conditions are definitely helping Tiger today, as the balls that ran off the greens yesterday are checking today.

Off the tee: Iron off the tee again and another fairway. That's 4-for-4, if you're counting at home.

Approach shot: And he hits his fifth green in regulation, holding the left edge.

On the green: A two-putt par for Tiger.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (Even for the tournament)

• • •

Hole 4: Par 4, 372 yards (RORY McILROY)

McIlroy's putting stroke looked a bit better on the third green after a couple of poor attempts on the first two holes. He remains two ahead of Dustin Johnson and three clear of Rickie Fowler.

Off the tee: Iron here and it splits the middle of the fairway.

• Approach shot: From 147 yards, McIlroy hits a solid shot to about 15 feet left of the hole.

On the green: McIlroy doesn't play enough right-to-left break and sends his birdie putt about 3 feet past the hole. He knocks that in for a third consecutive par.

RORY ON THE DAY: 1 over (11 under for the tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Charl Schwartzel picks up a second consecutive birdie, the latest on the par-5 fifth hole to move to T-3 with Rickie Fowler at 8 under, three back of McIlroy.

• • •

Hole 13: Par 3, 194 yards (TIGER WOODS)

Through three holes, Tiger has hit every fairway and every green. A big departure from Friday.

Off the tee: The pin is back left today, but Tiger manages to get it there, leaving himself another 25-footer for birdie. That's 4-for-4 in greens hit.

On the green: Tiger doesn't play enough break this time, leaving himself 4 feet for par and he makes it.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (Even for the tournament)

• • •

Hole 3: Par 4, 426 yards (RORY McILROY)

That was a big, par-saving putt for McIlroy at No. 2, keeping a bit of momentum.

Off the tee: First missed fairway of the day for McIlroy, but it is just about a foot off of it.

Approach shot: From 202 yards, McIlroy hits a nice shot that settles about 20 feet right of the hole.

On the green: McIlroy's birdie attempt is never high enough, but an easy par to stay two clear of the field.

RORY ON THE DAY: 1 over (11 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Jimmy Walker birdies the fifth hole to move to 7 under, while Charl Schwartzel birdies No. 4 to do the same.

• • •

Hole 12: Par 4, 447 yards (TIGER WOODS)

The start couldn't get much better for Tiger, it's just too bad he's still 11 shots back of the lead. He's going to have to hope for some problems from the lead groups to have any hope in this tournament. At this point, he's still playing for better FedEx Cup points.

Off the tee: Iron here and Tiger finds the fairway. That's 3-for-3.

Approach shot: Tiger finds another green (3-for-3) and he'll have about 20 feet for another birdie.

On the green: Can't get this one to fall, but an easy, tap-in par for Tiger.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (Even for the tournament)

• • •

Hole 2: Par 4, 454 yards (RORY McILROY)

Not a great start from McIlroy, but he still has a two-shot lead over Dustin Johnson.

Off the tee: Another fairway hit here for McIlroy, using less-than-driver to pound it down the right side.

Approach shot: McIlroy finds the green here, but will have 30 feet from behind the hole.

On the green: A terrible putt here by McIlroy, as he is never online with the birdie try and it floats 8 feet left of the cup. He does make the par putt to avoid a bogey-bogey start.

RORY ON THE DAY: 1 over (11 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler is on fire early, making a 20-footer for birdie on No. 2 to move to 8 under and three off the lead.

• • •

Hole 11: Par 4, 391 yards (TIGER WOODS)

A much better start for Tiger Woods today, as he carved up the 10th hole for the first time this week.

Off the tee: Iron here and he finds the fairway. That's 2-for-2.

Approach shot: Tiger will have another look at birdie, as he gets it pin-high and he'll have about 15 feet.

On the green: And that's two in a row to start his third round, burying the birdie putt.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (Even for the tournament)

• • •

Hole 10: Par 5, 532 yards (TIGER WOODS)

Today, we'll monitor both Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, as they take to the course on opposite nines at the same time (6:01 a.m. EDT).

Off the tee: Tiger blasts driver here and finds the dead center of the fairway.

Second shot: Long iron shot here and Tiger finds the green, leaving himself a long eagle attempt.

On the green: Eagle try scares the hole, but it is a tap-in birdie to start the round for Tiger.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (1 over for tournament)

• • •

Hole 1: Par 4, 458 yards (RORY McILROY)

Today, we'll monitor both Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, as they take to the course on opposite nines at the same time (6:01 a.m. EDT).

Off the tee: Driver in hand, McIlroy hammers it up the right side of the fairway. Dry and can definitely attack.

Approach shot: From 145 yards, McIlroy tugs it left of the pin and finds a pot bunker.

Around the green: McIlroy's bunker shot is not great, barely making it to the green. He'll have a a 10-foot, par-saving putt ahead.

On the green: McIlroy pushes his par putt past on the right and he opens with a bogey. Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson opens with a birdie to cut the lead to two.

RORY ON THE DAY: 1 over (11 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler opens his round with a birdie at No. 1 to move to 7 under, alone in third place. Playing competitor Sergio Garcia makes a mess of No. 1 and posts bogey.

• • •

Update #10: 5:57 a.m. EDT

The toughest hole on the course – the par-4 7th – gets the best of Phil Mickelson, who picks up his third bogey of the round and falls back to 2 over.

• • •

Update #9: 5:45 a.m. EDT

With his brother, Francesco, playing in today's final group, Edoardo Molinari is making some early noise, picking up a birdie on No. 2 from the sand to move to 5 under.

Ahead on No. 3, Justin Rose rolls in a 10-footer for birdie to get to 3 under.

• • •

Update #8: 5:37 a.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson started the right way, but has since gone backward, missing an 8-footer to save par on No. 6 to fall back to 1 over on the tournament.

Playing companion Keegan Bradley makes a 6-footer for birdie on the 6th to move to 2 under.

• • •

Update #7: 5:30 a.m. EDT

Adam Scott plays a nice shot into the first green, but misses a 15-footer for birdie and remains at 3 under.

In the group in front of Scott, Edoardo Molinari sticks his approach at No. 1 to 3 feet and moves to 4 under with the easy birdie.

Ahead on 14, Matt Kuchar picks up his second birdie of the day to move to 2 under on the tournament. He started his round on the 10th tee.

• • •

Update #6: 5:17 a.m. EDT

With a birdie on No. 4, Keegan Bradley has moved to 1 under for the tournament. He manages to stay there despite an adventurous fifth hole, as his fourth shot from the fairway sticks to 2 feet to allow him to save par.

American Brooks Koepka, who was tied for the lead at one point late in his second round, is struggling a bit, picking up a triple-bogey on No. 11 to fall to 4 over for the tournament, currently last in the field.

• • •

Update #5: 5:10 a.m. EDT

From the edge of the 10th green, Paul Casey quickly gets himself into red figures by draining a 15-foot eagle putt to move to 1 under.

• • •

Update #4: 5:05 a.m. EDT

While the rain will change many things about Hoylake on Saturday, here is a look at some hole statistics through two rounds:

Toughest hole: The par-4 seventh with a scoring average of 4.417. Only 13 birdies with 92 bogeys and 24 doubles (or worse).

Easiest hole: The par-5 10th with a scoring average of 4.610. Half the field will start here today. There have been 11 eagles and 135 birdies on the hole.

Toughest par 3: That'd be the par-3 sixth hole with a scoring average of 3.199. Only 19 birdies against 69 bogeys.

Easiest par 3: The par-3 13th hole with a scoring average of 3.109. None of the par-3s are averaging under par.

Easiest par 4: The par-4 11th with a scoring average of 4.003. The bottom half of the field will start with the easiest hole and easiest par 4, although in a driving rain.

• • •

Update #3: 4:55 a.m. EDT

Despite a driving rain, Byeong-Yun An and Branden Grace both open their rounds with birdies at No. 1 to move to 2 under on the tournament.

Starting on No. 10, 2014 U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer opens with a birdie to get to even par on the tournament.

• • •

Update #2: 4:40 a.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson's time in red figures was shortlived, as Lefty bogeys No. 2 to drop back to even for the tournament.

Meanwhile, Matt Kuchar opens his round with a birdie at No. 1 to move into red figures for the first time in the tournament.

• • •

Update #1: 4:25 a.m. EDT

The first group of the first tee is a pretty impressive one, with major winners Jason Dufner, Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley paired as they try to get into red figures.

Mickelson starts his round with a birdie on the tough opening hole; Bradley picks up a par; and Dufner opens with bogey.

As for the weather, it is pouring as advertised. It's going to be a long slog for the field.

• • •

Weather forecast

Tee times are off both nines and in threesomes for the first time in a third round of the Open Championship because the threat of storms today is the greatest of the tournament's week. A 60 percent chance of rain begins at 8 a.m. local time, hovering around that mark or 50 percent all day. But, we're used to seeing rain gear in this event, right?

• • •

Friday's coverage

Behind newfound 'inner peace,' McIlroy leads British

Rory McIlroy put on a clinic at Royal Liverpool on Friday, posting a second consecutive 6-under 66 to take a four-shot lead over Dustin Johnson at the 2014 British Open.

On second thought, Woods has work to do

Forget about what we saw and said Thursday. He’s not ready. An inconsistent Tiger Woods clearly needs more competitive repetitions, particularly with a driver, before he’s ready to contend in a golf tournament.

Mickelson posts 70 behind key par save at turn

Phil Mickelson's 2-under 70 was saved by a key 6-footer on the par-5 10th hole that kept his round on track.

Watson, 64, makes cut at Open

Tom Watson is proving that age is nothing but a number – even a number (64) that plays nice with Liverpool's Beatles history – and will be sticking around for the weekend at the Open Championship after back-to-back 73s at Hoylake.

Links golf has finally grown on Furyk

Jim Furyk fired a 1-under 71 on Friday at Royal Liverpool, showing the growth that the 44-year-old has made playing links golf over the course of his career.

Coetzee fires 69 to move into contention

George Coetzee’s birthday always falls during Open Championship week. The South African gave himself a tidy 3-under 69 to celebrate his 28th.

Els among major winners to miss Open cut

Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Bubba Watson were among the top names who couldn't get past the cut at Royal Liverpool in the 2014 British Open.

Notes: Bubba 'already left it;' Day tweaks wrist

Soon after he bogeyed Royal Liverpool's 18th for a British Open missed cut, Bubba Watson turned to thoughts of home and family; Jason Day reports some pain in his wrist; plus more Open Championship news and notes.

From the couch: D. Dusek on Rd. 2 of British Open

Our David Dusek is taking in ESPN's coverage of the Open Championship from his couch and will offer his commentary throughout the day.

Tracker: McIlroy stretches British Open lead

Friday at the British Open, Rory McIlroy widened his British Open lead at Royal Liverpool from one shot to four, while Dustin Johnson gave chase -- as Tiger Woods and Adam Scott struggled. Recap the highlights here!

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Thursday's coverage

McIlroy leads Open Championship, but Friday lurks

Rory McIlroy was a machine on Thursday, posting six birdies in a bogey-free, 6-under 66 that saw him take the lead at Royal Liverpool. Can he avoid another Friday disaster and chase his third major title?

Tiger's so-called "rust" seems to have been knocked off

Rust? What rust? Tiger Woods didn’t look corroded in the least, after bogeys on the first two holes anyway. Rather he looked comfortable and dangerous in shooting 3-under 69 in the Open Championship first round Thursday.

Scott nearly keeps pace with Open leader McIlroy

In the first round of the British Open at Royal Liverpool, Adam Scott told himself, “we don’t want him running away,” as he shot 68 to keep close to leader Rory McIlroy.

Hoylake's "Big Three" struggle mightily in first round

Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Bubba Watson took part in the angrier side of a long British Open Thursday at Hoylake, teeing off in mid-afternoon and experiencing more than their share of heartache.

Notes: Furyk fine after break; Rose's missing driver; more

Jim Furyk fared quite well after spending several weeks with family in Utah and Paris, while Justin Rose explains why he didn't get his hands on his driver until the third hole. That and more in senior writer Alex Miceli's notebook.

Molinaris' differing paths converge on Open leaderboard

Italy never has been known as a hotbed of golf, but brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari are sitting near the top of the leaderboard in the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool.

Shot-by-shot: Tiger's Round 1 at British Open

Tiger Woods fired a 3-under 69 on Thursday at the Open Championship, currently sitting three shots off the lead. The round consisted of six birdies and three bogeys – including back-to-back bogeys to start the round.

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Wednesday's coverage

Forget bomber's heaven; Hoylake demands strategy

Eight years ago, Tiger Woods won at Hoylake by using driver only once. A similar strategy could work this week despite the course being a bit more green due to recent rain.

Rude: Now headlining at Hoylake, Stenson

Henrik Stenson, the dryly humorous Swede, would be a great player to have as a next-door neighbor, writes Jeff Rude – especially after his wit shined Wednesday at Hoylake.

Factory worker Singleton brings dream to life

John Singleton, the local factory worker, hopes he doesn’t have to turn up to work Monday. Liverpool's own Singleton is bringing his dream to life this week at Open Championship.

Notes: Mickelson feeling 'better than I have in years'

Phil Mickelson said that despite poor results this season, he feels better than he has in years as he prepares to defend his Open Championship title. Also, Bubba Watson, in his pre-Hoylake schedule, included a round with his best friend, and Billy Hurley III got some much-needed rest before he takes on Royal Liverpool.

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Preview coverage

Tiger says goal is to win at Hoylake, but is that realistic?

With only 12 competitive rounds on the PGA Tour in 2014, Tiger Woods claiming that only finishing first is acceptable might be a bit of a stretch. But his competitors are seeing signs that his game is awfully close.

Scott leads expert picks for British Open

Adam Scott tops our senior writers' picks to win the 2014 British Open, with Jordan Spieth and Paul Casey also earning multiple mentions as contenders at Royal Liverpool. See who else is expected to contend.

Gambling has been prohibited at British since '11

Hard to believe, but gambling by players or caddies is prohibited at the Open Championship, and it has been for a while.

Cowan recalls Furyk's 'unbelievable' par at '06 Open

While the 2006 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool might be best remembered for Tiger Woods' dominating performance en route to his third Claret Jug, Jim Furyk's caddie, Mike Cowan recalls another special memory – Furyk's putt from a bunker that led to an up-and-down par.

Mickelson gives back Claret Jug, keeps memories

Phil Mickelson, who concedes he used to wonder “if I ever was going to come through and play well in links golf and win an Open,” is proceeding with a profound confidence this week.

A closer look: Woods' British Open results

Tiger Woods will make his 18th Open Championship appearance when he tees it up this week at Royal Liverpool. Here's a look at Woods' Open performances by year, including his three wins.

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