Adam Scott was left treading water as the field produced a blitzkrieg of birdies at the Old Course, leaving him with a fight to win the Claret Jug.
With overnight rain and very little wind during a stellar third round, no less than 10 players held a share of the third-round lead at some stage – but never Scott.
The former Masters champion could only muster a two-under-par 70, to be three off the pace in a tie for sixth at nine under entering Monday’s final round.
The Queenslander was frustrated with his efforts, especially given 36 better scores than Scott’s hit the boards from the 80 players who made the cut.
“I was slightly off my rhythm in the swing today,” Scott said.
“It just felt a little bit harder than the last couple days and that’s a little frustrating because it was there to be had.
“The good shots finished close but there just weren’t enough of them for me today. I didn’t make all the putts that I could have.
“But three back, I mean, it’s not a lot, really. So I’ve got a chance.”
After being inside the top five for the last three Opens, Scott is prepared to go on the attack in the final round as he chases the Claret Jug, a prize he threw away in 2012 with four bogeys in his final four holes.
With compatriot Jason Day co-leading the tournament and Marc Leishman also three back, Scott could sense a similarity to the 2013 Masters where he came home with a wet sail to claim victory.
The likes of Day, Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera carried the pressure early that day before Scott pounced.
“Luckily it’s super bunched, so it’s really going to be a shootout tomorrow,” Scott said.
“I’d like to just wake up tomorrow on the right side of the bed and go out and swing really freely like I did the first two days. I think I can get it going.
“I don’t think this tournament owes me one yet. But certainly from my position, if I were to come out on top tomorrow, it would be a special round of golf because one of the guys in front is going to get it going. There’s no doubt.
“I can see a lot of guys who would be very hungry to win, and I’m just going to have to play a great round.”