Viktor Hovland shot 66 on Saturday at St Andrews Old (and brown) Course to secure a share of the 54-hole lead, alongside Rory McIlroy, at the 150th Open Championship.
Entering the day three off the lead, Hovland got off to a terrific start with birdies on Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 6 to turn on 32. On the inward nine, the Norwegian bookended birdies on 10 and 18 to reach 16-under par.
“I don’t think there’s any other place that would top it,” said Hovland, when asked what winning his first major at The Open would mean.
“Growing up in Norway and always watched The Open Championship for way longer than I ever did, for example, the Masters.
“Yeah, to win a major that’s closest to home, that would be really cool.”
Highlighted by a hole-out eagle from a 10th hole bunker, McIlroy matched his younger counterpart’s 66 as he seeks to end an eight-year winless streak at the majors.
“That hole was sort of perched up on a little crown there,” said McIlroy talking about his hole-out on 10.
“And I was just trying to get it somewhat close. I was — anything inside 10 feet I felt was going to be a really good shot. It just came out perfectly.
“I think it was the first bunker I put it in this week. And it was a nice result.
“But, yeah, I said in one of the interviews it was skill to get it somewhere close, but it was luck that it went in the hole. You need a little bit of luck every now and again, especially in these big tournaments. And that was a nice bonus.”
Overnight leader Cameron Smith struggled to a 73 and fell into a tie for third with Cameron Young (71).
Si Woo Kim (67) and Scottie Scheffler (69) were one further back on 11 under, one clear of Dustin Johnson who posted a disappointing 71 to sit solo seventh on 10 under.
The 2022 Open Championship
Top-10 Leaders: Round 3
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 3)
1. Viktor Hovland -16 (-6)
1. Rory McIlroy -16 (-6)
3. Cameron Young -12 (-1)
3. Cameron Smith -12 (+1)
5. Si Woo Kim -11 (-5)
5. Scottie Scheffler -11 (-3)
7. Dustin Johnson -10 (-1)
8. Tommy Fleetwood -9 (-6)
8. Matt Fitzpatrick -9 (-3)
8. Adam Scott -9 (-1)
Sunday’s Final Games
All Times – EST
9:00a: Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay
9:10a: Matt Fitzpatrick, Adam Scott
9:20a: Dustin Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood
9:30a: Scottie Scheffler, Si Woo Kim
9:40a: Cameron Young, Cameron Smith
9:50a: Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy
Latest Odds To Win
1. Rory McIlroy (-120)
2. Viktor Hovland (+175)
3. Cameron Smith (+1200)
4. Cameron Young (+2000)
5. Scottie Scheffler (+2000)
6. Dustin Johnson (+5000)
6. Si Woo Kim (+5000)
8. Matt Fitzpatrick (+10000)
9. Tommy Fleetwood (+12500)
10. Adam Scott (+20000)
10. Jordan Spieth (+20000)