Devil Ball Golf

British Open, Third Round: Lee Westwood is one round away from his first major

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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Lee Westwood — Getty Images

• Much will be made of Tiger Woods in the next few hours, but Lee Westwood is the clubhouse leader and for good reason. The 40-year-old Englishman is trying to win his first major championship and looks as ready to do so as ever, especially with his newfound confidence in the putter. Westwood made clutch putts on Nos. 16 and 17 in his third round, and he's 18 holes away from the Claret Jug returning to England.

• Hunter Mahan quietly moved up the leaderboard on Saturday, making two birdies over his last four holes to post a round of 68 and jump in the final group at Muirfield. Mahan is a player that fits the mold of major champions in 2013, and will need to continue to press like he did on Saturday if he wants to join Justin Rose and Adam Scott as players in their early 30s winning a major in '13.

The stats are there about Tiger Woods never coming back to win a major championship, but two shots is nothing on this golf course. Woods posted a third round 72, his highest score of the week, but on a tough day it wasn't a bad score, and he's definitely in one of the better positions to win that 15th major as he's been in since the '09 PGA Championship.

If Westwood doesn't come back to the field, Tiger might have to shift his game plan on Sunday if he needs some late birdies, meaning more drivers on those closing holes if he needs birdies. That is where we will really see how confident Tiger is with his golf swing as the major pressure builds and birdies are needed.

Mahan made the biggest move in terms of a potential champion, but Sergio Garcia and Brandt Snedeker both bounced back with rounds of 68 and 69, respectively.

Garcia's 68 tied Mahan for the low round of the day, and moved him to a T-11 and an outside shot at posting a low Sunday number and possibly getting into a playoff.

Adam Scott's 1-under 70 was also impressive considering the conditions and has him with a legit opportunity to snag a second major in '13.

Miguel Angel Jimenez headed into the third round the leader alone, but his 6-over 77 dropped him well down the leaderboard and pretty much out of the conversation at Muirfield.

Dustin Johnson and Rafael Bello-Cabrera were also guys in the hunt after two rounds, but both matching 76s means neither will be leaving with the Claret Jug.

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No offense to these guys dressed in tiger outfits, but the three men above had the most creative outfits. Sadly, it didn't help Miguel Angel Jimenez, who shot a third round 77 dropped him well down the leaderboard.

Considering the leaders, the hole of the day was the par-5 17th. Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods both found the fairway, but Westwood's second shot ended up in a good spot while Woods found a cross bunker that forced him to pitch out and led to a bogey. Westwood's birdie there meant a two shot swing for the leaders and was one of the biggest moments of the third round at the Open.

We have one round left of Muirfield, with a ton of big names trying to walk away the champion golfer of the year. Coverage begins at 6 AM ET on ESPN, so tune in for what looks like one of the better final rounds at the British Open in years.

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Tiger has a chance to do something he's never done before
Tough-playing Muirfield decimates British Open field
Westwood chasing after his first career major victory

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