Rickie Fowler gave hope to the pack attempting to hunt down halfway leader Brian Harman on day three of the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Fowler, who made the cut with nothing to spare on three over par, overcame miserable conditions in the early part of his round to card a bogey-free 67 and improve to one under par.
That score was soon matched by fellow American Patrick Cantlay, with Olympic champion Xander Schauffele also four under for the day after 12 holes as the players exploited a welcome calm, dry spell at Hoylake.
A stunning second round of 65 had given Harman a halfway total of 10 under par and made him the ninth player in the last 40 years to hold a 36-hole lead of five strokes or more in a major, with each of the previous eight going on to win.
Scottie Scheffler was the most recent to do so in last year’s Masters, while Louis Oosthuizen was the last to achieve the feat in the Open; the South African led by five at St Andrews in 2010 and won by seven.
However, nearest challenger Tommy Fleetwood was in no mood to give up the chase in front of his adoring fans, having recently produced rounds of 64 and 67 to force a play-off in the Canadian Open and winning the 2022 Nedbank Golf Challenge from four behind at halfway.
“I’ve put in chases before in the past,” Fleetwood said after a battling second round of 71.
“At the end of the day, if somebody said you’re going out in the last group on Saturday, I don’t care what the situation was or what anybody had shot, I’d have probably taken it.
“I can’t have asked for any more from anybody with all the support they’re giving me out here and everybody is talking about it.”
Harman and Fleetwood were due out in the final group at 3.30pm.