Australian Adam Scott, chasing his first victory in a major, powered four strokes clear of the field after the third round of the British Open on Saturday. The world number 13 carded a two-under 68 to finish with an 11-under total of 199.
Britain's Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, carded a 67 to share second place with overnight leader Brandt Snedeker (73) on 203. Former world number one Tiger Woods (70) was in fourth position on 204, one ahead of triple major winner Ernie Els and Zach Johnson, the 2007 U.S.
Scott started with six straight pars before birdies at the seventh and eighth holes pushed him to 11 under for the tournament. He became the first player to reach 12 under with another birdie on the par-5 11th, before a poor wedge shot at the 12th led to his first bogey of the round.
Still, Scott was in control after starting the day one stroke behind Snedeker, who went through the first two rounds without making any bogeys. That all changed on the far end of the course, where the quick-playing American had four bogeys in rapid-fire succession over a five-hole span.
Woods was intent on closing the gap on the leaders to give himself a fighting chance on Sunday.
He got off to a miserable start by missing makeable par putts at the first and third, but a monster putt at the sixth and further birdies at the seventh and ninth saw him reach the turn in 33 level with Snedeker at seven under.
He parred his way down the back nine until a bogey at the 15th set him back and dashed the prospect of him joining Scott and Woods' former caddie, Stevie Williams, in Sunday's final pairing.
Anirban makes 1st hole-in-one
Anirban Lahiri had already made history at this year's British Open by making the cut in his maiden appearance before he stepped up to the ninth tee. With one swing of his 9 iron, he put himself in the record books again. The 25-year-old Indian made the first hole in one when he aced the par-3 No. 9 from 150 yards. “It was looking a little right of the hole, but it got a really, really friendly bounce. When it goes in, everybody goes wild, I go wild, it was fantastic,'' said Lahiri, who shot par 70.