Date: July 20, 2008

Shark poised to create history

Australian veteran Greg Norman has a chance to become the oldest British Open champion in history after shooting an impressive two-over-par 72 to take a two-shot lead into the final day of the Open. The 53-year-old leads defending champion Padraig Harrington, who also posted a 72 to sit four-over for the tournament, and Friday night&aposs leader KJ Choi. Four players – former Open champion Ben Curtis, Ross Fisher, American youngster Anthony Kim and Alexander Noren of Sweden – are at plus seven. When Norman double-bogeyed the 10th, many might have been ready for him to slide gradually out of the picture as the efforts of a physically and mentally demanding day took their toll. But the man whose zest for life and his sport appears to have been re-ignited by his marriage last month to ex-tennis great Chris Evert was having none of that. Back he came with birdies on the short 14th and long 17th – he almost eagled the downwind par five – and by almost chipping in at the last he was able to post a two over aggregate of 212. “It was just brutal,” Norman said. “It&aposs so hard to start a shot 60-80 yards right or left of your target line. The wind was so strong. “I&aposve never seen a ball react like it did. It was incredible to watch. “I don&apost feel drained at all,” he added and when asked what he might have said before the event if told he would be leading after 54 holes he answered: “Oh, really?” Choi, three clear after Norman bogeyed the first and third, had double bogeys on the sixth and 10th, but the world number 11 battled on for a 75 that means he might yet still become Asia&aposs first major champion. “I will have to try to catch up. I enjoy the golf course, and I&aposm comfortable on this course,” said Choi, winner of the Sony Open in Hawaii earlier this year. “I&aposm still in a good position. Five-over par today is still OK. I still have a chance, I&aposm sure of that. After a good rest tonight, I&aposm going to give it my all tomorrow.” Former winner David Duval, joint fourth at halfway despite making only one cut all year and being 1087th in the world, slumped to 150over with an 83 playing alongside Harrington, while Jean Van de Velde went from four-over to 14 over with an 80 that even contained an eagle on the 17th. There was another high-profile victim in world No.2 Phil Mickelson, who failed to reproduce the form that yielded a 68 on Friday and shot 76 to take him to 13-over in total. Ernie Els&apos 74 all but rules him out and Sergio Garcia&aposs hopes of winning the Claret Jug he came so close to clinching last year appear slim after his 74 left him nine-over. Leaderboard after the third Round of the British Open (Par 70): +2: Greg Norman (Australia) 70 70 72 +4: Padraig Harrington 74 68 72, KJ Choi 72 67 75 +5: Simon Wakefield 71 74 70 +7: Ben Curtis 78 69 70, Anthony Kim 72 74 71, Alexander Noren 72 70 75 +8: Henrik Stenson 76 72 70, Graeme Storm 76 70 72, Chris Wood (am) 75 70 73, Ian Poulter 72 71 75, Robert Allenby (Australia) 69 73 76, Rocco Mediate 69 73 76 +9: Davis Love III 75 74 70, Steve Stricker 77 71 71, Retief Goosen 71 75 73, Sergio Garcia 72 73 74, Jim Furyk 71 71 77 Also: +11: Adam Scott (Australia) 70 74 77 +12: Stuart Appleby (Australia) 71 72 79 +13: Nick O Hern (Australia) 74 75 74, Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 75 74 74 +14: Richard Green (Australia) 76 72 76, Craig Parry (Australia) 77 70 77 +20: Brendan Jones (Australia) 74 73 83