ST ANDREWS, Scotland - The Scottish summer first tried to flush the British Open into St Andrews Bay, then tried to blow it down, but Sunday, the weather finally abated and the tournament came to life.
Jordan Spieth shot 6-under-par 66 to revive his challenge to win the year's first three majors, which hasn't been done since fellow Texan Ben Hogan pulled it off in 1953. Back to his best after a disappointing second round, the 21-year-old Spieth is just a shot behind a three-way tie for the lead held by Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Day and Irish amateur Paul Dunne, who are at 12 under after 54 holes.
"I'm very pleased with putting myself in position," Spieth said. "I picked up my game on the first and just struck the ball beautifully, to give myself enough chances to at least be under par. And then once the putts started going in, I could take it deeper and deeper."
Spieth will tee off at 9:20 a.m. Eastern time Monday in the next-to-last pairing with Australia's Day, who shot 67. Day also shared the third-round lead at the U.S. Open last month but finished tied for ninth after suffering from vertigo.
"Pretty much like today, in the final round I will stay really patient and let the birdies come to me," said Day, 27, who has been second three times in a major but never has won one. "It can be hard to stay in the present. I'm going to try and do the best I can, just focus on myself and stay in the present."
The final pairing will be Dunne and Oosthuizen, at 9:30. Oosthuizen was the outright third-round leader in 2010, the last time St Andrews hosted the Open. Then the South African led by four and cruised to a seven-shot victory.
"I love the golf course. I love this style of golf and yeah, I just feel very comfortable on this track," Oosthuizen said after shooting a 67.
"Confidence-wise, knowing I've done it before at this course, I will take a lot from that, but there's a lot of golf to be played. Jordan is looking at making history, so you can expect him to fire on early. There's so many players who can still win this, and I think it's going to be one of the tightest Opens."
Dunne is the first amateur to hold at least a share of the 54-hole lead in the Open since Bobby Jones in 1927 at St Andrews. It could be a good omen for the 22-year-old Irishman that Jones went on to win.
"It feels great. I felt I had so much support from the crowd today," Dunne said after his 66. "Every shot I hit was getting cheered from start to finish, so big thanks to the crowd. They kept me lifted the whole way through."
As unexpected as Dunne's rise Sunday was the fall of Dustin Johnson, who led after two rounds. After having let the U.S. Open slip to Spieth at Chambers Bay, Johnson's golf had been imperious in the first two rounds. But in the third round, he lost some precision with his short-iron approaches and kept missing putts.
In calm conditions and with birdies begging, Johnson didn't post a red number until the 15th, but he dropped shots at each of the final three holes to slide five off the lead.
"I didn't feel like I played that bad, just couldn't hole the putts," said Johnson, who shot 75 after posting 65-69. "I felt I was hitting good putts, they just weren't going in the hole.
"I'm going to have to put together a special round to have a chance, but if I can get off to a really good start, you never know what can happen."