An 11-hour sleep and a hearty Scottish breakfast sparked the latest impressive round in Russell Knox’s glorious summer of golf, putting him in contention to seal back-to-back wins on the European Tour at the Scottish Open on Saturday.
Knox mastered the windiest conditions of the week over the Gullane links to shoot a four-under 66 in the third round, leaving him two strokes off surprise leader Jens Dantorb (68) and one behind a six-way tie for second place in the event used as a tune-up for next week’s British Open.
The Scotsman doesn’t want this summer to end. After placing 12th at the U.S. Open last month for his best finish at a major, Knox was runner-up at the French Open and then won the Irish Open last week thanks to consecutive 40-foot birdie putts on the 72nd hole and first playoff hole.
Now, he’s got a great chance to win his home championship, a week before heading to the British Open also in Scotland. There’s also potentially the not-so-small matter of a first appearance at the Ryder Cup in September.
“I’m loving the way I’m swinging and the putts are going in,” Knox said. “I’m just playing with a smile on my face.”
The 49th-ranked Knox said his energy levels were low on Friday following his big weeks in France and Ireland, but he “slept like a king” and enjoyed a “huge breakfast” including his favorite Scottish bread. It clearly did the trick.
On a day when Robert Rock — the overnight leader by two shots on 13 under — plunged down the field after a 76, Knox found himself tied for eighth place and among the lead groups teeing off late on Sunday because of TV scheduling.
That means he will miss the entire football World Cup final. Knox doesn’t mind.
“Being in contention is more fun,” he said. “It’s a bit of a bummer but I’m here to play golf.”
Rock’s implosion — he shot the worst round of the day, which included a triple-bogey seven on No. 11 — saw more than half the remaining field race past him.
Dantorp, an unheralded Swede with just one top-10 finish in 61 starts on the European Tour, birdied his final three holes to take the sole lead on 13 under.
Behind him, Matt Fitzpatrick (64), Ryan Fox (63), Marcel Siem (65) and Scott Hend (63) were all among the earlier starters, playing before the wind picked up, to reach 12 under. They were joined by Alexander Bjork (67) and Rickie Fowler (66), who drove 458 yards on the 471-yard par-4 10th hole.
Fowler won the Scottish Open when it was last held at Gullane, in 2015.
Twenty-six players were within four shots of the lead. Among them is 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman, who shot 68 and was on 10 under.
The 38-year-old South African hasn’t had a top-25 finish since January 2014 and has plummeted to No. 1,380 in the rankings.
“I was a lot meaner in my prime,” Immelman said, “and I don’t know if I’ve still got that anymore.”
Kim takes 5-shot lead at John Deere Classic
Michael Kim took a five-shot lead Saturday at the John Deere Classic in a third round delayed twice for a total of roughly four hours because of bad weather and concerns over lightning.
Kim, who has just one top-10 finish in 84 career PGA Tour starts, shot a seven-under 64 — closing with four straight birdies — for a three-day total of 22-under 191.
Bronson Burgoon (66) is 17 under and Australian Matt Jones (66) is 16 under.
Harold Varner III (66) is alone in fourth place at 15 under. Andres Romero of Argentina is 14 under after shooting 64, as is Sam Ryder (67). Tyler Duncan had the day’s best round with a 63.
Henderson has one-shot lead at Marathon Classic
Brooke Henderson birdied the 17th hole after a so-so back nine, finishing with a two-under 69 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead at the Marathon Classic.
The late birdie moved the 20-year-old Canadian out of a tie for the lead as she seeks her second win this season. Henderson is at 11-under 202 after three rounds at Highland Meadows.
Angela Stanford and Brittany Lincicome are one stroke behind. Stanford vaulted into contention with a 6-under 65, which tied for the low round of the day. Lincicome had a 4-under 67, including birdies on two of the final three holes.
This is the fifth time in Henderson’s career she has held the 54-hole lead. She went on to win on three of the four prior occasions. Jacqui Concolino is two strokes back while 11 players are three back, including defending champion I.K. Kim and NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho. The Wake Forest player is in the field on a sponsor’s exemption.
McCarron, Maggert, Bryant tied for lead at Senior Players
Defending champion Scott McCarron and Bart Bryant shot matching 65s on Saturday to move into a share of the lead with Jeff Maggert at the Constellation Senior Players Championship.
McCarron birdied two of the final four holes at Exmoor Country Club for a three-round total of 16-under 200 in the fourth of five majors on the PGA Tour Champions schedule. Last year, he rallied to win the event at Caves Valley near Baltimore.
Maggert, who led most of the day, shot 66. Vijay Singh (66) was one shot back. Three-time champion Bernhard Langer (67) and Illinois golf coach Mike Small (66) were another shot behind, and Scott Parel (70) was in a group at 13 under.