Jin Jeong continues to hang in there during the third round of the British Open. The 20-year-old is 1 over for the day through 12 holes, but he is currently tied for ninth at 5 under for the tournament. To put his performance in perspective consider these items:
Three amateurs have won the British Open:
Bobby Jones (3) 1926, 1927/St. Andrews, 1930
Harold Hilton (2) 1892, 1897
John Ball Jr. (1) 1890
The most recent top-10 finish by an amateur at the British Open was Chris Wood in 2008 at Royal Birkdale, finishing fifth.
Lowest total by an amateur at the British Open:
281 Iain Pyman 1993
281 Tiger Woods 1996
282 Justin Rose 1998
282 Matteo Manassero 2009
283 Guy Wolstenholme 1960 (St. Andrews)
283 Lloyd Saltman 2005 (St. Andrews)
Alejandro Canizares and amateur Jin Jeong are hoping to become the first player to win the British Open in his debut since Ben Curtis in 2003 and the 10th overall. Four players have performed the feat at St. Andrews:
Willie Park, Prestwick, 1860
Tom Kidd, St Andrews, 1873
Mungo Park, Musselburgh, 1874
Jock Hutchison, St Andrews, 1921
Denny Shute, St Andrews, 1933
Ben Hogan, Carnoustie, 1953
Tony Lema, St Andrews, 1964
Tom Watson, Carnoustie, 1975
Ben Curtis, Royal St. George’s, 2003
Jin Jeong only got about four hours sleep last night. But not because he was nervous, mind you.
Actually, Jeong was one of the 30 players on the course when play was halted at 9:45 p.m. local time who had to come back for a 6:30 a.m. start today. And maybe it was a good thing he didn’t have much time to ponder his position at the midway point of the 139th British Open.
Turns out the 20-year-old Korean amateur, who now makes his home in Melbourne, Australia, was one of just three players in the afternoon wave on Friday who ended up shooting under par. His round of 2 under left him at 6 under for the tournament and two strokes off the lead.
So Jeong, who qualified to play at the Old Course when he won the British Amateur last month, went out in the third-to-last group on Saturday with Alejandro Canizares. He bogeyed the fourth hole but just holed a lengthy eagle putt at the fifth hole to move to 7 under and four strokes off Louis Oosthuizen’s lead. – Helen Ross
Don’t look now, but only five players on the Old Course right now are under par for the day. And none of those are more than 1 under, either.
Alejandro Canizares birdied his second hole and is 1 under through four and 6 under for the tournament. Korean amateur Jin Jeong continues to impress at 1 under through six holes, Darren Clarke is through four, Ian Poulter is making the turn and Matt Kuchar is through five holes.
Amateur Jin Jeong finds himself in some pretty heady company right now. He’s currently 6 under through 15 holes, tied for second and just three strokes off Rory McIlroy’s lead.
The 20-year-old Korean, who now lives in Melbourne, Australia, qualified for the British Open when he won the British Amateur a month ago. Jeong beat Scotland’s James Byrne 5 and 4 in the final to become the first Asian golfer to win the title.
Jeong played in the Barclays Scottish Open last week but missed the cut, shooting rounds of 81 and 79. He’s finding St. Andrews much more to his liking and has yet to make a bogey. – Helen Ross