McDowell remains four behind Scott

7/22/2012 3:35:29 PM
Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell   (Getty Images)
Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell (Getty Images)
Overnight leader Adam Scott endured a shaky start to the final round of The Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

The 32 year old Australian began the day with a four shot lead over playing partner Graeme McDowell and American Brandt Snedeker, with 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods ominously poised another shot adrift.

But that lead was instantly trimmed when he failed to get up and down from the back of the first green - Lytham is the only course on The Open rotation to start with a par three - while McDowell did save par after pulling his tee shot well wide of the target.

Scott, seeking his first Major title, hit back superbly with a brilliant approach to three feet at the second to get the shot back, but then found a greenside bunker on the third to drop another shot.

At ten under par he was three ahead of Snedeker, who did not drop a shot until his 41st hole this week and had opened with five straight pars.

McDowell was a shot further back after having to play out sideways from a fairway bunker on the second, while Woods remained six under after five consecutive pars which indicated he was sticking to his conservative strategy.

Woods has not won a Major title since the US Open in 2008 and his chances of ending that streak looked to have disappeared with a triple-bogey seven on the sixth.

His approach to the par four found a semi-plugged lie in a steep-faced bunker, from where he could not escape at the first attempt and saw the ball almost come back off the face of the hazard and hit him - which would have brought a one shot penalty.

Woods then had to lie outside the bunker to play his fourth shot, which also caught the bank but squirted out to the front of the green, from where he three-putted to drop seven shots behind Scott.