The Open challenge Tiger Woods ignited late on Friday was in danger of fizzling out today as the 14-time major champion made a poor start to his third round at Royal Lytham.
Woods's last act in his second round was to hole a bunker shot for a birdie on the 18th to complete a second consecutive round of 67, moving to within four shots of the lead held by fellow American Brandt Snedeker.
The former world number one was delighted to be "right in the mix" as he sought a first major title since 2008, but was furious at dropping two shots in his opening three holes this afternoon.
His tee shot on the par-three opening hole ran through the back of the green, from where he chipped to six feet and missed the par putt.
And a par on the second was followed by a clumsy bogey on the third, where he opted to putt from 10 yards short of the green, but charged his first attempt 10ft past the hole and missed the return.
In contrast, Snedeker was proceeding serenely on his way after equalling 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.
Three regulation pars kept the world number 29 at 10 under par, one clear of Australia's Adam Scott, with Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen a further four shots behind alongside former Masters champion Zach Johnson.
Woods had fallen six off the pace on four under and a share of fifth place in a large group also containing former Open winners Ernie Els and Paul Lawrie.