Gavin Kyle Green’s steady progress as he adapts to the unaccustomed vagaries of links golf, and the entirely new experience of competing in a Major, was much in evidence during round three of The Open Championship.
The 24-year-old Malaysian shot a level par 71 to maintain his position at three-over and the round lacked some of the rollercoaster elements of the first two days.
Two birdies, at the 6th and 11th, were offset by dropped shots at the 8th and 14th but he seems to be well on his way to mastering Carnoustie’s brutal finishing four holes.
“It was good today. I hit it good again and kept my irons in play. I just had one bad hole and one three-putt. It was quite painful hitting an OB on a par-five on 14 but still, I managed to save bogey there. I came back with four pars on 15, 16, 17 and 18 which was a tough stretch. I gave myself looks. It was still a solid finish. I gave myself a lot of chances today but none of them really dropped. I am hitting it good so I am alright with the even-par. I wish I was under-par though but it is what it is,” said Green.
On each of the previous two days he dropped two strokes over this fearsome finish but in round three he played the quartet in level par figures, and for the first time made par on the most challenging 18th hole in Major championship golf.
“Hole 18 is a tough hole. I was hitting between a two-iron and a driver and today, I thought I should just hit the driver. I hit it to the fairway, had 190 meters to the pin and hit a six-iron from there and made par. It was just a lot of positives today.”
The number of pars Gavin makes has climbed steadily over the three days – seven on day one, followed by 12 and now 14, which is impressive for an Open debutant. His driving and iron play has been strong and if he could have a hot round with the putter, anything is possible. He hit 73% of fairways and 72% of greens in regulation, with an average driving distance (measured over the 6th and 10th holes) of 328 yards.
As an odd number of golfers made it through to the weekend, and as he was last man to qualify for the final two days, Gavin was the first player on the course, accompanied by one of Carnoustie’s assistant pros, who acted as his marker.
“Playing all by myself today was pretty lonely. When I found out about it yesterday, I was like ok, it’s just going to be me and my dad today. But I had fun out there. I am just going to do the same things tomorrow and then hop onto a flight back to Kuala Lumpur on Monday,” he added.