Perfect conditions set up 3rd-round fireworks at British Open

Ireland’s Shane Lowry. (Reuters)
Updated 21 July 2019

Perfect conditions set up 3rd-round fireworks at British Open

PORTRUSH: Leaders Shane Lowry and J.B. Holmes teed off for the 3rd round of the British Open on Saturday with the pressure already being applied by the chasing pack on a glorious day at Royal Portrush.
In contrast to the wind and rain of the first two days that saw Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy fail to even make the cut, sunny conditions made for a low scoring morning.
Xander Schauffele, Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett and Park Sang-hyun made the most of their opportunity to climb through the field to six-under and were joined by world No.1 Brooks Koepka as he picked up a shot at the second.
Major winners Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth also made early birdies to move to seven-under, whilst Tommy Fleetwood’s birdie at the first brought him level with Lowry and Holmes at eight-under.
Separately, American Kyle Stanley said he had not apologized for a “non-issue” after his playing partner Robert MacIntire complained he had not shouted “fore” before his ball hit the mother of the Scot’s caddie.

Incident
The incident on the 17th hole in Friday’s second round saw Stanley send his tee shot into the gallery, with it hitting the spectator on the hand.
MacIntire had said he told Stanley he “wasn’t happy” and that his rival “didn’t take it well at all” when confronted over not letting the crowd know the ball was heading in their direction.
“My two playing partners, my caddie, a couple of the volunteers or the marshals, even had them signalling it was going right,” Stanley said after his 3rd-round 73 on Saturday.
“I mean, everyone to the right of that ball, they knew it was coming.
“So to me it’s kind of a non-issue. I’m not really sure why he decided to make such an issue about it. I know it hit his caddie’s mom’s hands off the bounce, and that’s unfortunate.”
World No. 57 Stanley appeared bemused by the situation, saying he had never been involved in something like it before.
He hit out at MacIntyre’s inexperience, with the 22-year-old playing in his maiden major at Royal Portrush.


Lewis Hamilton on top as Mercedes dominate Formula One opening practice

Updated 52 min 21 sec ago

Lewis Hamilton on top as Mercedes dominate Formula One opening practice

  • Lewis Hamilton tops times ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at season-opening Austrian Grand Prix

SPIELBERG, Austria: Defending six-time champion Lewis Hamilton topped the times ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas as Formula One roared back at Friday’s opening practice at the belated and surreal season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
Three months after the cancelation of the original campaign starter in Australia and six months on from the last race meeting, it was business as usual for the dominant black arrows with Max Verstappen third for Red Bull ahead of McLaren’s Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz.
After a slow start on a damp surface at the Red Bull Ring, following overnight rain, Hamilton, sporting a new Black Lives Matter helmet to match his black race suit, was on the pace immediately in his W11 car of the same color, repainted from silver this year to support equality and diversity.
It was as if the lengthy delay created by the COVID-19 pandemic had no effect on the teams, cars and drivers other than Ferrari whose new SF91 machine was, as forecast, unable to match the pace set at the front by Mercedes.
Ferrari plan to revise their car with updates for the Hungarian race in two weeks’ time following the second event in Austria next week.
Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who is set to leave the outfit at the end of the year, struggled to 12th, two places behind team-mate Charles Leclerc, in the eerie surroundings of the fan-less circuit in the Styrian Alps where pit-stops were curiously controlled with all the mechanics in masks and protective gear.
In mild weather conditions, with track temperatures measured at 22 degrees Celsius compared to 57 degrees for last year’s race, Mercedes had no cooling problems as Hamilton outpaced Bottas by three-tenths and was six-tenths clear of Verstappen.
Sergio Perez was fifth in Racing Point’s ‘pink Mercedes’ ahead of Lando Norris in the second McLaren, Alex Albon in the other Red Bull and McLaren-bound Daniel Ricciardo of Renault. Kevin Magnussen was ninth for Haas.
The session saw Verstappen recover from a spin at Turn One and Daniil Kvyat of Alpha Tauri run off at the final corner, causing Williams’ George Russell to take dramatic avoiding action while Romain Grosjean was stuck in the Haas garage with brake problems throughout the session.