2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson moved to within touching distance of the leaders when he birdied the last to complete a third round 66.
The 36 year-old from Georgia was almost joined on that number by 2012 champion Bubba Watson who was five under the card after 49 holes but then dropped 3 shots on the 14th and 15th before completing his round in 68 for a two under par aggregate of 208.
Johnson started his round at one under par after opening rounds of 67 and 74 but dropped back to level with a bogey on the second before reaching the turn in 32 after birdies on the 4th, 7th and 8th. He went on to birdie the 13th and 14th before shedding another shot on the 16th but then repaired the damage with a three at the last where his approach almost went into the hole.
Johnson came into The Open in fine form having won both the Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial and last week’s John Deere Classic in Illinois. He has also amassed runner up finishes at The Players Championship and the RBC Heritage this season and so will not be short of confidence as he begins his final round bidding to win back-to-back victories for the first time in his career.
“It was a good way to end and hopefully I can take the momentum from 18 into tomorrow,” he said
“I don’t think I could play any more aggressive than I did today and I am not going to change my approach tomorrow.
“I’m hitting lots of greens and that’s what I want to continue to do in the final round.”