Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood were among the big names finishing their third rounds early Saturday at the Open, having played themselves out of contention at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.
World No. 3 Westwood fired a one-over par 71 to stand on four-over 214 through 54 holes at the tricky links layout, the Englishman's hopes of claiming his first major crown on home soil this weekend shattered.
World No. 2 McIlroy, the 2011 US Open winner from Northern Ireland, was four-over through 15 holes without a sub-par hole on the day.
Westwood made bogeys on three of the first six holes, then birdied the par-5 seventh and 11th and birdied 13 and 15 as well, but for the second time in three days closed with two bogeys in the final three holes to fade back.
"Nothing has been that good this week," Westwood said. "I haven't holed enough putts. I hit plenty of fairways. You need to have your game in shape to play one of these weekends."
Westwood said pin positions were tricky and there was a slight breeze "but it's still very playable and very scorable out there."
Asked if he felt pressure at having not won a major at age 39, Westwood said "no". Asked if he was sure, he added, "Yeah."
No one had cracked the top 10 of the leaderboard in Saturday's early play as American Brandt Snedeker, the leader at 10-under 130 by one stroke over Adam Scott of Australia, waited to tee off.
Tiger Woods, chasing his 15th major title and his first major triumph since the 2008 US Open, was in the penultimate group along with Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen, who was excited to play alongside his boyhood idol.