Open: Justin Rose remains in title contention

Justin Rose
Birdies at eight, nine, 16 and 17 saw Rose add a 68 to his opening 67 and second-round 69 Open second-round leaderboard:
-14 B Steele (US); -13 A Loupe (US), K Na (US); -12 J Rose (Eng), J Bohn (US) K Reifers (US), E Grillo (Arg), G DeLaet (Can), H Varner III (US), W Wilcox (US), J Vegas (Ven); -11 J Thomas (US); Selected others:-6 R McIlroy (NI), M Laird (Sco); -1 G Owen (Eng)

Justin Rose will head into the final round of the Open two shots off leader Brendan Steele.

Englishman Rose, 35, posted a four-under-par 68 in California to end the third round in a pack of eight players tied for fourth on 12 under.

Scotland's Martin Laird dropped out of contention with a 74 to leave him six under, level with Rory McIlroy.

"There are a bunch of guys between 13 and 10 under. Someone in that group is going to play well," said Rose.

"The way I like to look at it, if the leader goes out and plays well and stretches out with the lead, good for him.

"One way to look at it is you take the leader out of the equation because it's never easy to play with the lead.

"It's going to be a day where you'll have to move out and go forward and make birdies and post a number."

Rose did exactly that on day three, posting four birdies in a blemish-free round to keep up with the USA's overnight leader Steele, who shot a 69 to stay on top, a shot ahead of compatriots Andrew Loupe and Kevin Na.

However, it was another frustrating day for Northern Ireland's world number three McIlroy, who toiled for a second successive 71.

The 26-year-old also survived a scare on the 17th when a tee shot from Argentine Emiliano Grillo almost struck him.

"It missed me by a couple inches," said McIlroy. "It would've put me out of my misery, to be honest with you."

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