``I think we are going to keep an eye on each other,'' Parnevik said
about being paired with Clarke. ``I always look at the scoreboard. It's
just that in '94 something strange happened.'' Something strange also happened
on Saturday at Royal Troon. When Parnevik made his move, no one went with
him. Of the 12 players within eight strokes going into the third round at
Troon, only Parnevik was able to shoot in the 60s.
Greg Norman, David Duval, Davis Love III, Tom Watson and Tom Kite were
all positioned to make a run at the lead. None could. Clarke, Couples, Leonard
and Jim Furyk were all in a position to go with Parnevik. None could. Only
those farthest back _ Tiger Woods among them _ were able to shoot low numbers.
For most of them, it was likely too little, too late. ``I expected low
scores in the afternoon,'' Parnevik said. ``I'm just surprised others didn't
go low.'' While Parnevik was putting up a 66, Clarke, the midway leader
by two strokes over Leonard, was lucky to escape with an even-par 71 to
be at 204. Leonard, who made only one birdie, shot a 72 and was at 207,
along with Couples, who shot a 70.
``The way the weather is right now,'' Couples said of the lack of wind
that hit Thursday's round, ``it doesn't look like the leaders will drop
any shots. We will have to play very, very well to catch them.''
The round of the day was by Woods _ a course record-tying 64 _ but it
still left him eight strokes behind at 210. ``Tiger has to shoot 60 tomorrow
to have a chance,'' Parnevik said. ``If he gets off to a really great start
and then the wind blows 80 mph ...,'' Parnevik said, stopping his thought.
Only Jack Burke Jr. in the 1956 Masters started the final round eight
strokes behind and won, the greatest comeback in major championship history.
Parnevik started Saturday three strokes behind Clarke. Playing in the group
in front of Clarke, Parnevik immediately applied pressure by making birdies
on Nos. 1 and 2.
``Those two birdies really got me going,'' he said. ``It felt like I
could do whatever I wanted to on the golf course.'' Parnevik proved that
on the seventh hole when he used his putter from 50 yards off the green,
hit it 16 feet, and then made the putt for a birdie.
``I two-putted from 70 yards. It's my longest two-putt ever,'' he said.
Clarke, however, was up to the early challenge, shooting a 32 on the
front nine to stretch his lead to four strokes entering the back nine, the
nasty stretch of holes that has been the key all week. Clarke began to unravel
after hitting into the gorse on the 11th hole and making a bogey, one of
four he made on the final eight holes.
``From there on out, it turned into a struggle,'' Clarke said about No.
He was fortunate that bogey was the worst score he got on the back nine.
Twice, Clarke waded into deep rough and used his considerable bulk to bang
the ball back to the fairway, and then applied his delicate touch around
the greens to save bogeys. His most spectacular bogey came on No. 13, where
he hit it into the gorse with his second shot, took a penalty drop, and
then slashed a great wedge shot that sent weeds flying and put his ball
10 feet from the cup. He made the putt. Keeping those potential disaster
holes under control kept Clarke in contention going into Sunday. ``If I
can get off to a good start,'' Clarke, from Northern Ireland, said haltingly,
``and then play better on the back nine ...'' His voice then trailed off.
Parnevik, at first frustrated by Clarke's strong start, maintained his patience
_ and it paid off. ``After my four birdies (on the front nine), and Darren
kept making birdies as well, I kept telling myself that anything can happen
on the back nine.'' Nearly everything happened there. While Clarke was struggling,
Parnevik made a birdie at No. 10, gave it back with a bogey on No. 12, and
then rolled in a six-footer for birdie on No. 16. ``At the same time, I
saw Darren dropping a few, so I decided to go for it on 17,'' he said. ``It
was a sucker pin.'' Parnevik's gamble worked, and he hit a 3-iron 223 yards
to three feet and made the birdie putt to take the lead for the first time.
It was not the first time Parnevik has had the lead in a British Open. He
was two strokes ahead going to the final hole in 1994 at Turnberry but didn't
look at the scoreboard and thought he was trailing. He gambled for a birdie
and made a bogey. Nick Price, playing three holes behind Parnevik, finished
birdie-eagle-par to win by one stroke. ``I know how he feels,'' Parnevik
said of Clarke. ``After you have had such a big lead, and no one is putting
pressure on you, and then someone makes a few, it feels like you are behind
_ even if you are a couple ahead.'' While Parnevik and Clarke, both schooled
on the European Tour, attacked the front nine at Troon, Leonard and Couples
played like it was the U.S. Open _ where par is a good score _ and not the
British Open. Both made nine consecutive pars and failed to take advantage
of the easiest stretch on the course. Couples broke through on No. 11 when
he holed a 6-iron from 168 yards for an eagle. But it was the only hole
he played under par all day. Woods got out to a fast start with five birdies
in the first seven holes. More impressive was how he closed the back nine,
shooting a 32 with an eagle on No. 16. He hit a driver for his second shot
from off the fairway 281 yards to within 15 feet. He followed that with
a 30-foot chip-in on the next hole and made a great par save from the bunker
on No. 18. The 64 matched Greg Norman's course record set in the closing
round of the 1989 British Open. ``Today was the day I needed to shoot a
real low number,'' Woods said. ``And I did it.'' It was likely too late,
however, and when Woods replays this tournament in his mind, he will remember
the triple bogey on No. 11 on Thursday and the quadruple bogey on No. 10
on Friday. If those two holes had been mere bogeys, Woods would be at 8-under
par going to the final round, three strokes behind.