Kansas City's own Tom Watson has seen it all as far as horrendous coastal weather conditions associated with the playing of The Open Championship, but it didn't get any worse than what the five-time British Open (what The Open Championship used to be called) champions experience in the third round Saturday at Royal St. Georges in Sandwich, England.
Watson, who in Friday's second round scored a hole-in-one on the 179-yard, par-3 sixth hole, had the misfortune of being one of the golfers out on the course early in the day when the course conditions were at their worst. Light rain turned into a driving rain with wind gusts so strong they were turning umbrellas inside out, as reported by the Associated Press.
The 61-year-old Watson began the day Saturday two shots under par, at 142, six shots behind the second-round leader, Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke. Even after a highly respectable round of 72 on Saturday, actually one of the better scores from weather-worn morning round, Watson's three-round total of 214 set him back three more shots off the lead and a total of nine shots back of the leader, Clarke, heading into Sunday's final 18 holes.
Clarke fired a one-under 69 on Saturday, his third consecutive round under par in the 60s, for a three-round score of 205 and a one shot lead over Dustin Johnson of the U.S. and a two-shot advantage over American golfer, Rickie Fowler, and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark. Bjorn was the winner the last time The Open was played at Royal St. Georges
The wind conditions were so bad in the morning on Saturday that Watson twice had to hit his driver on his second shot on the front nine.
Clarke and Johnson will be in the final group in Sunday's final round, teeing off at 9:10 a.m. ET. They will be preceded by Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim, both of the U.S., with an 8:40 ET tee-off, Lucas Glover and Miguel Angel Jimenez, who will tee off at 8:50 and Bjorn and Fowler at 9 a.m. Watson will be paired with fellow U.S. golfer Trevor Immelman on Sunday and are schedule to tee off at 7:05 ET.
Complete list of Sunday's tee times for the final round of 2011 The Open Championship at Royal St. Georges.