Big Easy senses something special
Ernie Els produced a strong third-round 68 at The Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes to move to five under in a tie for fifth on Saturday.
Els needed a special round to give the leaders a real scare on Sunday, but he remains with an outside chance at lifting the Claret Jug as he lies six behind Australian frontrunner Adam Scott on eleven under.
Ahead of Els, is American Brandt Snedeker on Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell both on seven under and four back of the Aussie.
Tiger Woods still lurks on six under, and fellow American Zach Johnson is tied with Els on five under.
The Big Easy, though, said he was pleased with where he stands and thought something special lies around the corner. “For some reason I've got some belief this week,” said Els after his round.
“I feel something special can happen. I feel I've put in a lot of work the last couple of – let's call it the last couple of years, especially the last couple of months. So something good is bound to happen, so hopefully it's tomorrow.”
Els started his third round with five solid pars, before picking up his first birdie at the long 492 yard par four.
There he hit a long drive down the fairway and hit his approach 20 feet past the pin.
He showed good putting touch as he holed the lengthy attempt for birdie.
On the par five seventh, Els displayed his touch out the sand when he got up and down out of a greenside bunker to pick up another shot.
Els was unable to improve his score further for the round, making bogey at the 14th before getting the shot back at the par four 17th.
Playing with Els, was compatriot Thomas Aiken who struggled to a one over par 71 and left himself at three under in a tie for eighth, and eight back of Scott.
The ever optimistic Aiken said he still had a fighting chance on day four.
“I've by no means played my way out of it. I would have liked a few more, but I'd say if I get off to a solid start tomorrow, you never know,” said Aiken.
“I mean, the pressure is going to be on the leading few groups. And how many times have we seen it that someone has come from behind? “So I'm no longer saying that I haven't got a chance, but it's going to take a good round of golf tomorrow.”
Louis Oosthuizen moved into tenth spot on the leaderboard with a second successive 68 as he ends three rounds on two under par.
The rest of the South Africans were all over par on Saturday, with Garth Mulroy ending tied 33rd on two over with a 72 and Branden Grace slipped to 43rd with a 71 ending three over.
Richard Sterne (73) and Retief Goosen (75) both struggled to share of 64th on five over with just a round to play.