Toss that card

Francesco Molinari: By the day’s end Friday, Molinari was in third place, after a 2-under 70. But playing in the final group, he struggled to a 75 on Saturday and fell to 23rd.

Keep that card

Darren Clarke: He has only two top 10s in the three years since he won the British Open at Royal St. George’s but gave himself a chance for another with a 5-under 67, matching the best score of the day.

On the course with ...

Tiger Woods: The the biggest crowd belonged to Woods despite his poor showing. Woods was tied for 58th. Except for missing the cut five years ago at Turnberry, he has never finished out of the top 30 in the British Open.

Open moment

Torrential rain was pounding the roof of the media tent as Rory McIlroy was holding a news conference, discussing his third-round 68 that inched him closer to a first Claret Jug.

Asked if The R&A made the correct decision to go off two tees and send the whole field out early, the tournament leader looked up and pointed to the skies.

“It was a great decision,” McIlroy said. “They got it right.”

The split tee times also meant that the duties of Ivor Robson, the official starter for the British Open since 1975, were halved. Players getting underway on the 10th were introduced to the crowds by European Tour official Mike Stewart.

Chip shots

• Jordan Spieth has now played with Tiger Woods five times this year — twice at Torrey Pines, twice at Congressional and Saturday in the British Open. Spieth is 20 shots better than Woods in those five rounds.

• Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler are the only players to shoot in the 60s all three rounds going into Sunday.

Key hole

577-yard, par-5 16th: Two shots behind, Rickie Fowler drove into a pot bunker and made a bogey. In the group behind him, Rory McIlroy hit driver down the middle and a 4-iron to 15 feet for an eagle that stretched his lead to five shots.

Quote of the day

“Obviously, if Rory wasn’t 16 under par, it would be really, really tight.” — Sergio Garcia

Day 4

Rory McIlroy would need a 66 Sunday to break the 72-hole record of 267 that Greg Norman set at Royal St. George’s in 1993. More in range would be Tiger Woods’ record for all major championships in relation to par — 19 under at St. Andrews in 2000. McIlroy would need a 68 to break that record. McIlroy already holds the U.S. Open record for score (268) and par (16 under) at Congressional in 2011. ESPN begins its coverage at 5 a.m. McIlroy is scheduled to tee off at 8:40.

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