Shackelford: Branden Grace 'in the zone' as he opens Club 62

HIGH HOPES World number one Dustin Johnson thinks he can lift the coveted Claret Jug when he competes at this year’s British Open with the field filled with potential winners

Grace, 29, a South African who has seven European Tour titles and another on the PGA Tour, made eight birdies and no bogeys Saturday during the third round of The Open, which was played under mostly sunny skies and with little wind.

"I honestly didn't. You know, I was just so in the zone of playing, hole after hole". On NBC, Jim "Bones" Mackay, in his first stint as a regular announcer, said to Dan Hicks, "Dan, I gotta tell ya, don't tell Johnny I said this, but there's a 62 out there today".

"And I thought if I could make a couple more on the back nine, then it's going to be a great score. Sometimes it helps not knowing these things". Grace was only thinking about trying to get through the third round without a bogey.

Grace hit 16 of 18 greens, getting up and down from over the 18th to set the record in the 442nd major championship to be played.? Conditions were flawless, with scarcely a breath of wind, and the course had been softened up by the rain that fell on Friday and continued overnight. Grace came to the 536-yard par-five 15th six-under par, and looking for an easy birdie.

Thirty-one rounds of 63 were recorded all-time across the four major championships, most recently Justin Thomas at this year's U.S. Open.

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Tiger Woods had a vicious lip-out in his bid for 62 in the second round of the 2007 PGA Championship at Southern Hills.

And there were plenty of low scores offered on this day at Royal Birkdale.

The previous record for the lowest round ever shot in a men's major championship had been 63 - a score recorded 31 times in each of the four men's majors.

World number two Hideki Matsuyama of Japan carded 66 to join Grace at four under, one ahead of American world number one Dustin Johnson (64), defending champion Henrik Stenson (65), Spain's Rafael Cabrera Bello (67) and American Chan Kim (67). And then there was Jack Nicklaus in the first round of Baltusrol for the 1980 U.S. Open.

Another gain followed on the penultimate hole, as Grace hit the par-five 17th in two, and he held his nerve to save par on the 18th after his approach had slipped over the back of the green.