Adam Scott will enter the final round of the Open Championship with his best chance of claiming a maiden Major title following a third-straight effort under par in Lancashire, England, on Saturday (local time).
In what is shaping up as a gripping battle for glory on Sunday afternoon, Scott holds a more-than-useful four-stroke advantage and appears to have every facet of his game under control.
A two-under 68 took the Australian to 11 under the card overall and a comfortable outright lead as overnight pacesetter Brandt Snedeker faltered with an inconsistent 73 to drop back to seven under.
Snedeker is equal second with Graeme McDowell, who will be paired with Scott and looking to apply as much pressure as possible.
McDowell fired a three-under 67 and as a former Major champion he has proved himself under final-round intensity when it really matters. In fact, Scott and Snedeker are the only players in the top six yet to win one of golf’s biggest prizes.
Can Scott absorb the heat and emerge victorious eight years after what many thought would be a career-defining win at The Players Championship – often referred to as 'the fifth Major'?
The 32-year-old started his third round with six consecutive pars, before notching back-to-back birdies at the seventh and eighth holes to storm into the outright lead. He made another birdie at 11 then his only bogey of the day at 13 after finding the rough off the tee.
Perhaps the shot of the day came at the 17th green, where Scott played a superb shot out of the damp bunker to within a foot of the hole and tapped in for a crucial par.
"I'm just happy to be in this position," Scott told reporters afterwards.
"To be honest, I'm really excited about tomorrow."
Tiger Woods is ominously poised to strike in outright fourth position at six under the card. An even-par round of 70 was not the former world number one’s best performance of the week, but it leaves him well in contention for a 15th Major title.
Ernie Els and Zach Johnson both know what it feels like to win on the biggest stage – and the pair will start their charges together from six shots off the pace following rounds of 68 and 66 respectively.
Thorbjorn Olesen is seventh at four under, while the rest of the field appears unlikely to challenge Scott.
Greg Chalmers is the next-best-placed Australian at even par and a in a share of 18th.