American sensation, 23, on the brink of landing third Major after five-under 65 puts him clear of Matt Kuchar
IAN POULTER admitted “s*** happens” after he blew his Open chances as Jordan Spieth sealed a three-shot lead.
Three-time Major champ Spieth drained a 20ft birdie putt on the last to sit on 11 under as Rory McIlroy also melted at Birkdale.
Spieth didn’t make one bogey all day in his five-under 65 – while McIlroy dropped two shots on the tenth alone and Poulter had a hat-trick of bogeys on the back nine.
McIlroy said it was nice to be in the mix – “for six holes” at least – at a Major again after three birdies in his first five had Birkdale buzzing.
But a shocking double bogey after some bunker trouble at the start of the back nine and just one birdie after saw him sign for a one-under 69 and two under total overall.
Poulter gave it the big one about going toe-to-toe with three-time Major champ Spieth but it was the American who stamped all over him.
Poults went out in level par and birdied the tenth before dropping shots at 11, 12, and 13 for a one over 71.
And he said afterwards: “S*** happens. I make five bogeys today. It’s not good enough. Simple as that. I’m p****d off. Don’t know what else to say.”
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That over par round stood out even more on a day when Branden Grace became the first man in history to shoot 62 at a Major.
American Kuchar missed a birdie putt on 18 to finish alone in second on eight under, three ahead of Austin Connelly and US Open champ Brooks Koepka.
Grace and Hideki Matsuyama share fifth on four under and Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Chan Kim and Rafa Cabrera-Bello round out the top ten on three under.
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