Through three rounds of the 2011 British Open, nothing has gone according to plan. Before the third major of the year began, all the talk centered on Rory McIlroy, the young phenom who clobbered the field at the US Open just a few weeks ago, and Lee Westwood, the Englishman who's come close, but never broken through in a major. With just 18 holes to play at Royal St. George, Westwood is already back at home after missing the cut, and McIlroy is nine shots off the pace.
If nothing else, we should know by now how unpredictable major championships can be. Mix in whether that can go from nearly unplayable to sunny and calm in a matter of minutes, and you've got a British Open ripe for a surprise winner.
Darren Clarke is a name most likely to fall under the "field" category before the British Open began, not having the name recognition of many of the other contenders. But Clarke has been solid all week, benefiting a bit from nice weather, but mostly from solid ball striking. His putting has been hit-and-miss, but no matter: Clarke will enter the final round atop the leaderboard and with a one-shot advantage at 5-under.
Dustin Johnson made the third round move we've come to expect from him, and finds himself in prime position to capture a major title. Johnson has developed a reputation, fair or not, for his play on Sunday's in a major. He's come close, but faltered. He's began the final round with a lead and collapsed. This time around, however, he's right there at the top of the leaderboard, just behind his playing partner in the final group, Darren Clarke.
Is the lead Johnson and Clarke hold over the field big enough to create a match play scenario? Not at all. As we've seen, anything can happen at the British Open, and no lead is safe. A shift in the weather or a less than solid round from either of the top-two could quickly turn the British Open on its head, creating a wild Sunday of golf across the pond.
For more 2011 British Open news and results, stay with this StoryStream, visit SB Nation's golf hub, and check out our golf blog, Waggle Room. For full 2011 British Open scores, visit the official Open Championship leaderboard.