Adam Scott will take a 4-shot lead into the fourth and final round of the Open Championship at Royal Lytham after a round of 68 on the third day put him to -11 for the tournament, four clear of Graeme McDowell and Brandt Snedeker.

The Australian, who began the day on nine under, one behind playing partner Snedeker in the final group had got himself to -12 after 12 holes, to give him a 5-shot cushion over his pursuers as his American playing partner dropped shots. He made a bogey on 13 but parred the remaining holes coming home to remain on -11 and in a strong position going into the last round.

Snedeker, who had not dropped a shot or landed in a bunker for the entire first two rounds made five bogeys in seven holes, as he became more familiar with the infamous Lytham bunkers. However, he did produce a birdie on the last to rescue his round somewhat and go joint-second which could give him some confidence going into day four.

Graeme McDowell, however will be the man joining Scott in the final pairing tomorrow as a round of 67 has put the Northern Irishman in with a chance at -7 and keep hopes of a UK winner alive. McDowell, who suffered a near-miss in the U.S. Open last month has put himself in contention for a second major title and continue Northern Ireland’s recent golfing major revolution.

The looming figure of Tiger Woods sits on -6, five back. Woods, who has never come from behind on the final day of a major tournament has continued to play a conservative strategy on the Lytham course, using irons off the tee for the vast majority of the tourament and shot a round of 70 after dropping two shots early on.

Former Masters champion Zach Johnson sits on -5, along with South African Ernie Els, the Open winner of 10 years ago. Dane Thorbjorn Olesen is one shot further back on -4, whilst English hopes look to have ended with Luke Donald the highest-placed on -1.

At the moment it seems to be Scott’s to lose in his pursuit of a first-Major win, and if he can reproduce the form he has played in the opening three rounds it will be very difficult for the field to chase him. However, the final day of a Major usually produces much drama and twists and turns, and with several big name major winners in his wake there is still a fascinating day to look forward to on Sunday.


Simon Mulligan