- The Open, Round Three
McIlroy, Westwood & Harrington stall on moving day
Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy all failed to produce the third-round charge required to give themselves a chance of tasting victory at The Open.
Brandt Snedeker set the bar at ten-under after his 64 on Friday, and that mark is now well beyond the grasp of the aforementioned Ryder Cup trio.
McIlroy said after his second round that he wanted to begin the final day at three or four-under, but instead he will start his final 18 holes at five-over following a 73.
He was reasonably fluent from tee to green on the front nine - only to unravel with the short stick in his hand, missing three par putts inside ten feet. Another par-saving four-footer flew by at 12, causing the Ulsterman to puff his cheeks out, frustrated and flustered.
McIlroy, so ruthless and focused when he won the US Open at a canter last year, has carried a distracted air throughout the event, letting his challenge go up in smoke by letting far too many strokes slip by. He managed just one birdie on Saturday as Royal Lytham & St Annes continued to bamboozle him.
Harrington, McIlroy's playing partner, fared a little better - but, at two-over following a 70, he will not be pocketing a third Open title. His driving was frequently unruly, and on a course with such penal rough, you cannot afford those lapses. The Irishman did hole a crowd-pleasing 25-footer for birdie at 17 - one of two he managed, to go with two bogeys.
Westwood is still to make an impression at the tournament after a round of 71 left him on four-over. On a track expected to reward pure ball-strikers of his ilk, the Englishman has drifted around anonymously in the background for three days.
On Saturday, he made a dreadful start, bogeying three of his first six holes, before a run of three birdies hauled him back to where he started. He missed a par putt from four feet at the 18th, however, which saw him end on a sour note - and just about summed up how it has been for him at Lytham.
Check back later for our evening report, which will feature details of Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell, among others