Another composed performance on day three saw Adam Scott move to 11 under par and open a four-shot lead heading into the decisive day of the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club.
A round of 68 was marginally his worst yet but remained two under the course par and, crucially, an improvement on what his two main rivals at the start of play, Brandt Snedeker and Tiger Woods, were able to produce.
The man starting the final day on top has won the last two Opens and in the last eight editions held in Lytham St Annes, only one golfer has successfully toppled an outright leader, the much-missed Seve Ballesteros doing so in 1979 and 1988.
In addition, Scott has been performing with a composure and consistency that suggests that a choke won’t be forthcoming. The Australian hasn’t bogeyed more than one hole in any of his rounds so isn’t as short as you might expect at 4/6.
His biggest threat is a Northern Irishman, though not the one that gets all the headlines as Rory McIlroy fell further back – 16 shots to be precise – following another disappointing day.
Instead, it is Graeme McDowell who is the 4/1 second favourite after a dramatic finish that saw him shift from being on par for the day at the start of the 13th to birdying three of the last six holes and moving within three strokes of the lead.
G-Mac is joined by former pacesetter Snedeker (14/1), who having got 40 holes into the tournament without a bogey was inevitably thrown by his first, enduring six in the space of ten holes before recovering well with birdies on the 16th and 18th.
Woods scored a par 70 to wind up five shots shy of Scott. While that isn’t an unbridgeable gap, as demonstrated by odds of 5/1, all 14 of his major triumphs came when either in first place or tied for it 54 holes in.
Zack Johnson looks a decent each-way shout at 25/1 having climbed to within six of the lead with a round of 66, which was the best of the day but not even his best of the weekend. Were it not for a dismal Friday, he would be up there with Scott.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.