Golf-Rahm hangs tough to stay in contention

Jul 17, 2021; Sandwich, England, GBR; Jon Rahm plays his shot from the first tee during the third round of the Open Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

SANDWICH, England (Reuters) - Jon Rahm dug deep to eke out a third-round 68 on Saturday and keep alive his hopes of adding the British Open title to the U.S. Open crown he picked up last month.

The powerful Spaniard started the tournament slowly with a 71 but moved into contention with a second-round 64 and overcame a bogey on the par-five seventh to collect three birdies on the back nine and move within four shots of the lead.

"Really good round. Played good golf. Had some really good highlights," Rahm told reporters.

The world number two said the Royal St George's course had presented a tough challenge.

"Because of the weather conditions it's easy to think it could have been a little bit better, but the pin locations were no joke," the 26-year-old said.

"I don't know if on TV you could appreciate it but those are some of the hardest pin locations collectively I've ever seen.

"You can hit the right shots and give yourself chances, but even hitting the right shots you can face some funky putts with difficult breaks and difficult speeds."

Rahm, who finished at seven under par, knows he will have to produce a special performance on Sunday to overtake pacesetters Louis Oosthuizen, Jordan Spieth and Collin Morikawa and earn his second major title.

"Hopefully, the leaders don't get too far away," he said. "If the forecast is the same, not too windy, then more than five shots will be hard to catch."

(Reporting by Ed Osmond; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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