American Brian Harman led the British Open by five shots at the end of the third round on Saturday as Spaniard Jon Rahm soared into contention with a course-record 63 at a soggy Hoylake.
Harman, seeking his first major title, dropped two shots in the first four holes before birdies at the fifth and ninth took him back to 12 under par, five clear of defending champion Cameron Green.
Spain’s Jon Rahm was six shots further back on six under, while England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Australian Jason Day were among a five-strong group of players on five under.
World number three Rahm conjured up eight birdies in a majestic display of ball-striking to give himself an outside chance to win his third major crown and second of the year.
“That’s the best round I’ve played on a links golf course ever,” Rahm told reporters.
“Honestly, I’m just going to enjoy the afternoon with my family. There’s nothing to be done. I’ve done a lot of good work this week to give myself an opportunity.”
Norway’s Viktor Hovland shot 66 to move to five under, level with Frenchman Antoine Rozner, while Indian Shubhankar Sharma was eight shots off the leader on four-under.
World number two Rory McIlroy collected three birdies before dropping back to three underto see his chances of a fifth major titledisappear.
England’s Alex Fitzpatrick carded 65 to finish on four under, two shots ahead of his brother Matt, the 2022 U.S. Open champion.
“We’re brothers at the end of the day as much as we’re golfers,” Alex, who competes on the second-tier Challenge Tour, told reporters. “I root for him, he roots for me.
“If either shot level par, one-over, four-under, it doesn’t matter; I would’ve still been proud of him. Obviously very grateful he shot a good round today, and it’ll be a nice dinner tonight I’m sure.”
In wet conditions, the early starters struggled to make up significant ground.
Americans Rickie Fowler and Patrick Cantlay completed flawless 67s to move to one under par but world number one Scottie Scheffler needed two late birdies to complete a 72 and finish at four over.
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Scheffler admitted his chances of claiming a second major crown were slim.
“Unless a hurricane happens this afternoon,” he said. “A hurricane and then some I think is what it’s going to take for me to win.”