Rose grabs British Open clubhouse lead

Darren Walton
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Gol Open

Justin Rose has posted the lowest score in Carnoustie's British Open history, a seven-under-par 64

English star Justin Rose has lit up the links with a British Open birdie blitz to leave the Claret Jug there for the taking.

After only making the cut with a last-hole birdie on Friday, Rose returned on Saturday to seize the clubhouse lead with the lowest score in Carnoustie's Open history, a breathtaking seven-under-par 64.

Bidding to becoming the first Englishman to win the Open since Nick Faldo at Muirfield in 1992, Rose had seven birdies without a blemish to surge to four under for the tournament on a serenely calm morning on the east coast of Scotland.

"Momentum wise, birdieing the final hole picking up where I left off last night got me into the round early," Rose said after moving to within two shots of joint second-round leaders Kevin Kisner and 2015 champion Zach Johnson.

"The first couple of days were difficult and frustrating. The birdie on 18 last night freed me up and very happy to be here.

"I kept it together mentally, felt a bit more in control with my game too. To keep a clean sheet on this course obviously leads to great stuff."

Rose said he'd birdied the easier holes, but still arrived at the difficult closing stretch knowing he needed to pick up a couple more to give himself even an outside chance heading into Sunday.

"Playing the last four holes I was pushing myself to make a couple more," he said.

"Those late couple of birdies certainly tomorrow will make it at least interesting."

Rose's round matched the 64s from American Steve Stricker and Australian Richard Green at Carnoustie in 2007.

But the world No.3 was far from the only player going low on Saturday.

Minutes later, Japan's Yusaku Miyazato, in the pairing behind Rose, posted a bogey-free 65 to get to three under.

Rose's countryman Chris Wood was headed even high up the leaderboard after firing seven under through 13 holes only to drop two strokes down the stretch to fall back to three under after a 66.

The trio's big moves offered the entire field hope of making up ground on Johnson and Kisner before they teed off later with a one-shot buffer over England's world No.10 Tommy Fleetwood and fellow Americans Pat Perez and Xander Schauffele.

Northern Ireland's former champion Rory McIlroy was in a big batch with Rose and Wood at four under and two behind.

That chasing pack also included 2017 runner-up Matt Kucher, American compatriots Tony Finau and South Africans Erik van Rooyen and Zander Lombard.

On a star-studded leaderboard, defending champion Jordan Spieth was a further shot back at three under with countrymen Rickie Fowler.

Adam Scott was the leading Australian at one under heading into round three, one ahead of Jason Day and Lucas Herbert and 14-times major winner Tiger Woods.

But world No.1 Dustin Johnson and No.2 Justin Thomas both missed the halfway cut.