Adam Scott, who reckons he can remember every shot of Greg Norman's closing 64 to win the Open at Sandwich 19 years ago, was today putting himself in pole position to lift the Claret Jug himself.
The 31-year-old Australian started the day one shot behind halfway leader Brandt Snedeker, but just 12 holes later found himself five clear of a chasing pack headed by 14-time major winner Tiger Woods.
Scott, with Woods' former caddie Steve Williams on his bag, started slowly with six straight pars, before birdies on the seventh and eighth took him to the turn in 32. An eagle putt on the par-five 11th was left agonisingly just short of the hole, but the tap-in birdie took Scott to 12 under par and in command of the year's third major.
That was because Snedeker had finally experienced two unwelcome firsts, the American having equalled the 36-hole Open record of 130 thanks to rounds of 66 and 64 in which he had not carded a single bogey or found one of Lytham's 206 dangerous bunkers.
The first of those impressive streaks came to an end when he three-putted from just short of the fifth green, while the second ended just one hole later as his approach to the sixth found sand.
Snedeker steadied the ship with a birdie on the seventh, but further shots went on the eighth, ninth and 11th to leave the world number 29 back on six under par.
Woods had also looked to be struggling as he dropped two shots in his first three holes, but he hit back with birdies at the sixth, seventh and ninth to ensure he remained an ominous presence on the leaderboard.
The first sign of nerves from Scott saw him miss from inside four feet for par on the 13th, but his lead was soon back to five shots when Woods paid the price for his conservative strategy.
Hitting an iron off the tee on the 462-yard 15th left him with a long approach which came up short of the green, from where he three putted for a bogey. And when Graeme McDowell birdied the 17th to improve to seven under, the Ulsterman was into second place on his own ahead of Woods