THE OPEN LIVE: All the action as it happens from the fourth round at Royal Lytham
13:13 GMT, 22 July 2012
THE OPEN ESSENTIALS
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Welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of The Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Seve Ballesteros won the Claret Jug twice here and David Duval triumphed the last time the oldest major was played on this stretch of the Fylde coast (2001).
Tiger Woods is the bookies' favourite this week, and has put himself in contention after the opening two rounds of the tournament.
Brandt Snedeker and Adam Scott were leading the play ahead of what should be a thrilling weekend at Lytham.
Stick with us and we'll bring you the latest news, live scores and all the best pictures. And if you want to get in touch, leave a comment on the section at the bottom of the page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Leading the way at Royal Lytham
-11 Adam Scott
-7 Graeme McDowell
-6 Tiger Woods
-5 Zach Johnson
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2.11 Ernie on the first tee, could he roll back the years and party like it's, er, 2002 Well, that's a belter to start, the best tee shot here we've seen and has 10 feet for an opening two. Not so hot from Zach Johnson, pulled way left of the target.
2.08 Bill Haas saves par with a wobbling seven footer on the first to stay three under but Thorbjorn Olesen, so impressive yesterday alongside Woods, drops back to that score after pushing his own effort from a similar distance wide of the mark.
2.05 Atmosphere building now, Tiger coming up shortly, not too many under par but Geoff Ogilvy and Miguel Angel Jimenez both in with 67s.
Poulter has a putt from five feet for the same score on the last after rather milking the applause from the grandstands heading down the last. Never in doubt off Poulter's blade, what a putter he is. A fine round and the Hertfordshire man turned Florida resident finishes level par for the championship.
1.55 Par three start for Bubba, as a relaxed-looking Scott tells the BBC he's nervous but excited and is ready to accept whatever comes his way today. The game remains to get the ball in play off the tee, he says.
Donald gets up and down from the trap on the third. Told you he was good.
1.50 First move of the day comes from Kuchar on the second, the ever-grinning Kooch is three under now. Donald won't be smiling when he sees his ball in the bunker by the third green. The pin's tucked on the back left and the world No 1's short-sided himself. Good job he's the best sand player in the field…
Donald, give us a wave: World No 1 Luke on the first tee during day four at Royal Lytham & St. Annes
1.46 No final flourish for Westwood, the birdie putt stubbornly staying above ground. And so another major miss draws to an end in particularly disappointing fashion, he just never got going this week. Chin up, Westy, your day will come. A 72 today and six over his final score.
1.45 Just 45 minutes until our leaders head out…
1.41 Calc and King Louis on the first tee, past Open winners both, but not troubling the flagstick. It looks accessible today but no-one's got too close so far.
Up and down for Donald on the second, belter from Westwood on the last, flighted approach spinning back towards the cup and settling 10 feet away. That's more like it, Lee.
1.40 Here's Mr Scott on handling the pressure of his overnight lead: 'I got up a little earlier than expected, but I think I slept pretty well considering.'
1.32 Westwood's week is limping to a conclusion, another bogey on the 17th after a poor approach is left well short, and a putt from miles off the green leaves him 10 feet for par, which proves too much.
1.31 US Ryder Cuppers Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, at one and two under respectively, step onto the first tee. Decent shots but nothing more, 35 and 30 feet for birdies.
1.29 The wind's picked up to 20mph already and the forecast is that it will get stronger still. More evidence of how the gusts are forcing changes to tactics – Donald taking driver on the second tee. It's a belter, right down the middle.
Here's how you do it: Nicolas Colsaerts plays his third shot on the 18th on his way to shooting 65 on Sunday
1.27 More omens: On this day…
2000: Tiger Woods won the Open Championship at St Andrews by eight shots. The American, who a few months earlier had won the US Open by the biggest margin in major championship history, became only the fifth player to have won all four major titles after his triumph at the home of golf.
2006: Tiger Woods won the Open Championship at Hoylake, just 11 weeks after the death of his father.
1.26 Donald for his two… nope. Stays up.
1.24 Not only is the wind picking up but the bright sunshine of the last two days in Lancashire is drying out the course and transforming Lytham back to the links we know and love. The greens are turning browner and there is noticeably more more on the hardening fairways. This is more like it.
1.20 Right, things are starting to get interesting… here's Luke Donald on the first tee needing something special, plus a bit of luck, and then some more besides to get into contention. And his first shot is a good 'un, homing in on the flagstick, today cut at the back right of the green. 20 feet left for an opening birdie.
1.15 Here's McIlroy on his tournament: 'My game hasn't been there. It was pretty good on the first day but after that I struggled and couldn't find anything. Overall, a disappointing week for me.
'When you try to force it and press things, it just doesn't work. It is hard to make up shots on this golf course.
'I will be watching Graeme McDowell this afternoon and it will be a battle for the guys out there.
'Adam Scott has to go out and protect the lead and if Graeme can plod along and pick a shot here and there, he may be able to do something.'
1.13 Brilliant from Colsaerts, the putt straight and true and proving to all those chasing Scott that a low score is possible today.
1.10 Colsaerts scrambling on the 18th to save his par after finding some hay off the tee. Plenty of Ryder Cup points to play for for the Belgian, even if he's not going to win today. Oh, and a pretty hefty cheque too. His wedge from around 100 yards is all over the flagstick and leaves him five feet for a four and a second 65 of the championship. And yet he's still not in contention. Something to do with the 77 on Friday perhaps, Nico
12.58 McDowell's mum and dad being interviewed on the BBC right now, and they're not giving up on their boy catching Scott yet. How ridiculous would it be if the claret jug returns to a small seaside town on the Antrim coast for the second successive year Still, it clearly helps a tad when you grow up playing the links at Royal Portrush. What a place. If you haven't been, go. Now.
12.48 Here's Mr O'Malley of Golf Digest again: In eight final rounds in the Open, Adam Scott has a scoring average of 73.25: 74-75-75-72-71-72-72-75.
So, Scott has never broken 70 on the final day at the Open. And some of those scores would thrown the cat right among the pigeons.
12.44 Colsaerts for birdie from 25 feet on the 16th, ball rolling up hill and down dale.. .and he makes it! The Belgian into red numbers now, five under for the day, and showing just what can be achieved round these links if you play well (just ignore his scores on Friday and Saturday, please).
12.38 Gary Player reckons that anyone on a score of two under par still has a chance of catching Scott later. Sounds a bit optimistic but who are we to argue with a three-time claret jug winner and nine-time major champion
The scores on the doors: How the leaders stand heading into the final round
If the great South African is to be believed, then the likes of past winners Louis Oosthuizen and Mark Calcavecchia still have a chance, as does Players' champion Matt Kuchar.
Most excitingly of all, that would also mean Bubba Waton is still in the hunt. If it blows hard then the Masters champion might not be the man to put your savings on, but if the winds stay away no-one is capable of ripping up these fairways like big ol' Bubba.
12.33 The biggest shot deficit made up on the final day to win the claret jug – and, indeed, any major – was 10, by Paul Lawrie at Carnoustie in 1999. And 10 shots just so happens to be the margin that world No 1 Luke Donald finds himself trailing by today. England's finest has just arrived at Lytham and tees off at 1.20.
12.30 Another Open Championship slips by for McIlroy, the world No 2 tapping in on the last for a 73 and an eight over total. He'll be back stronger, you can be sure of that.
12.20 Here's a an interesting stat, courtesy of Mike O'Malley of Golf Digest, that doesn't really bode well for Woods making up the five shots he needs to catch Scott: Tiger has a final-round scoring average of 70.64 in the Open (first two as an amateur): 78-70-74-66-74-69-71-65-71-72-70-67-70-72.
And here's an even better one from Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press on some of Snedeker's past PGA Tour wins: Snedeker came from 7 behind on last day to win this year. 6 behind to win last year. 5 behind to win his first event. He's 4 behind today.
12.10 Aussie John Senden has shown his fellow countryman at the top of the leaderboard how it should be done with the low round of the day so far, a two-under 68. That score should see Scott win by a mile. But will it be possible in the winds forecasted later If you're looking for omens then how about Scott's past Open record: only one previous top-10.
The damp and calm conditions have made this an unusual Open, turning the links into more parkland conditions. But can Scott hack it when the going gets tough and Lytham bares its teeth
11.55 But that's enough of the doom and gloom. How about a few reasons to be cheerful Ian Poulter is one, the Englishman two under through eight this morning but too far back to challenge on one over par. Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jim Furyk are on the same scores for both round and championship through nine and seven holes respectively.
And what a funny old tournament it's been for Belgian bomber Nicolas Colsaerts. An opening day 65 was followed by an abject 77, then a 72, and now he's four under par through 12 holes of his final round and sitting on level par overall.
11.50 A few other scores of note today: Tom Watson managed 73 for a 12 over total, the same fourth-round score as local lad Lee Slattery, who ends the championship on nine over.
Early bird: Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the third hole during the final round
Rory McIlroy is 15 holes through his final round and currently sits two over for the day and seven over in total, another disappointing major for the Northern Irishman. Likewise for Lee Westwood, who is one over through nine holes and five over for a desperately deflating Open challenge.
11.45 A few players' tournaments have already come to an end after starting early this morning. One of them is Argentina's Andres Romero, who had a familiar face on his bag today: Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez. So, did the Premier League star inspire his mate to great things. Erm, well, no actually. Romero could only shoot an 82 and now props up the field on 18 over par.
11.35 The real action gets underway in a few hours' time, with Scott and McDowell teeing off at 2.30. Woods and Brandt Snedeker, who collapsed while leading to shoot a 73 yesterday, head onto the links 10 minutes before that, while Ernie Else and Zach Johnson are the pairing at 2.10. A full list of tee times can be seen by clicking the link at the top of this article.
Some help: Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez caddied for Andres Romero, who shot 82 on Sunday
11.25 And what of McDowell's chances The man from Portrush has proved he can handle that unique pressure that comes with leading majors on a Sunday and, as anyone in the Usk Valley nearly two years ago will testify, he proved he can handle even the pressure of an entire continent by holing the winning putt for Europe in the Ryder Cup.
His game is in fine shape too, this being the second consecutive major in which he has played in the final pairing in the fourth round following his close call at the US Open in San Francisco last month.
And anyone growing up on the links at Portrush must learn how to play in a gale, so a stiff breeze on the Fylde coast won't faze him one bit.
11.15: So, can Adam Scott hold on and claim his maiden major championship at the biggest one of them all The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind.
That's because the forecast for this afternoon is for gusts of up to 25mph, and wind that strong can blow anyone off course, no matter how well they've played for three rounds in the most benign of Open Championship conditions.
And, of course, this is all new to Scott, who has never led a major heading into Sunday. So it remains to be seen how he handles that unique pressure.
Despite a Scott leading the Open after 54 holes, the British challenge has been rather disappointing this week. That said, Graeme McDowell is flying the flag for Northern Ireland and remains the man most likely to catch the Aussie, particularly if the conditions change as forecasted.
Oh, and there also happen to be a certain chap by the name of Tiger Woods just one shot further back. And if Tiger's in contention on the final day of a major, you can be sure that whoever beats him must fight until the very last putt hits the cup.
Looking good: Adam Scott takes a four-shot lead into the final round of the 141st Open Championship