Jordan Spieth put himself in prime position to defend the Claret Jug by surging into a share of The Open lead after round three on a day when Tiger Woods shot into contention at Carnoustie.
Low scoring was the order of the day on a glorious Saturday on the east coast of Scotland with the leaderboard a sea of red, and Spieth carded a sublime 65 to sit level with Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele at nine under.
It was the latest in a series of sublime major performances by Spieth, who produced a textbook display of links golf, recording an eagle and four birdies in a blemish-free round.
On a truly dramatic day where the leaderboard was ever-changing, Woods delighted the spectators with a performance reminiscent of the dominance that saw him win 14 major titles.
The American great carded a score of 66, his lowest at an Open since winning in 2006, and will start Sunday's final round four shots adrift of the leaders.
Kisner, who has led or co-led after every round, was also blemish-free en route to a three-under 68, while Schauffele birdied the last to join the leaders and Kevin Chappell is two strokes back.
Francesco Molinari rocketed up the leaderboard with a 65 to reach six under and Zach Johnson, who started round three as co-leader, shot a one-over 72 to fall four back.
For the third straight day Rory McIlroy mixed promise with frustration, a bogey at the last means he is tied six alongside Woods, Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Alex Noren and Tommy Fleetwood, while Justin Rose is at four under after tying the lowest Open round ever at Carnoustie with a 64.
After Rose had set the tone for the day, Woods took up the mantle and delighted the galleries by going out in just 33 strokes.
A crunching approach left a tap-in birdie at 10 and he briefly co-led after making gains at the 11th and 14th, only for a bogey at 16 – after a brilliant strike from the tee rolled off the green – to set him back.
Luck was on his side when a wayward tee shot at the last threatened to go in the Barry Burn and a brilliant approach to within two feet saw him rescue par.
Molinari, Noren and Chappell – playing alongside Spieth – also scored big, while Schauffele flew under the radar.
He went on a streak of three birdies between the fifth and seventh before picking up another stroke at 14. The American then rebounded from a dropped shot at 17 to birdie the last and take a share of the lead.
But Spieth is the man most will feel is favourite after riding a juggernaut that never looked like being stopped.
It began with an almighty drive at the par-four first that rolled to within 10 feet of the flag and resulted in an opening eagle, and continued when a glorious approach at the fourth left a tap-in birdie.
A run of six straight pars ended when a marvellous strike into the 11th green left a four-footer for birdie and another gain followed at the par-five 14th.
Spieth has had issues down the stretch this week, but a fine tee shot at 16 left a 10-footer for birdie that he rolled in before safely negotiating the last two holes.
|BREAKING NEWS: Messi out of Clasico with fractured arm|
|Awesome Ashton marks Sale bow with hat-trick|
|Klopp hopes for positive Henderson prognosis amid Liverpool injury issues|
|Benitez ´convinced´ Newcastle can survive despite seventh defeat|
|Barcelona 4 Sevilla 2: Messi injured but champions go top|
|Kovac relieved by Bayern´s timely victory|
|Strasbourg 2 Monaco 1: Sy howler and Grandsir red card cost Henry in first match|
|Leicester City defender Chilwell signs new six-year contract|
|PSG´s Tuchel hopes Verratti and Di Maria can face Napoli|
|Liverpool star Salah had no fear during scoring drought|
|Alonso´s 2019 plans not damaged by McLaren´s IndyCar decision|
|Edinburgh outclass troubled Toulon, Wasps and Bath play out thrilling draw|
|Barca concern as Messi substituted with worrying arm injury|
|Howe: South coast derby draw a fair result|
|Our heads were in Manchester – Allegri left fuming at Juventus´ loss of focus|
|Derby County 2 Sheffield United 1: Marriott blunts Blades with 77th-minute winner|
|We have so many problems – Jokanovic alarmed by Fulham defensive woes|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Liverpool 1: Salah snaps winless streak|
|Pellegrini ruing injuries after Yarmolenko hurts ankle|
|Villarreal 1 Atletico Madrid 1: Simeone´s side denied LaLiga top spot|
|Gracia: Not easy to dominate Wolves like that|
|Isner´s Finals hopes hindered by Stockholm defeat|
|Dyche incredulous at refereeing decisions in Man City thrashing|
|Juventus 1 Genoa 1: Champions´ winning run ends despite record Ronaldo goal|
|´Fantastic´ Lamela urged to find consistency by Pochettino|
|You don´t want to lose any players - Young speaks out on Wade NFL speculation|
|Championship Review: Smith gets off to a winning start, Leeds beaten|
|Guardiola hails extraordinary Fernandinho after Burnley drubbing|
|Pochettino lauds Lloris as one of world´s best after West Ham heroics|
|Paris Saint-Germain 5 Amiens 0: Ten wins in a row for PSG as Neymar rests|
|Cristiano Ronaldo nets record 400th league goal|
|Marcelo backing beleaguered Lopetegui despite Madrid slump|
|Garcia dazzles to hit the front at shortened Valderrama Masters|
|Cardiff City 4 Fulham 2: Paterson gets Bluebirds off the mark|
|Newcastle United 0 Brighton and Hove Albion 1: Benitez´s men bottom after dismal defeat|
|West Ham 0 Tottenham 1: In-form Lamela settles London derby|
|Manchester City 5 Burnley 0: De Bruyne returns in comfortable win|
|Wolves 0 Watford 2: Capoue and Pereyra turn form book on its head|
|Bournemouth 0 Southampton 0: Howe´s side stifled by Saints|
|Prove you´re crazy about Inter - Spalletti rallies players ahead of Milan derby|
|Wolfsburg 1 Bayern Munich 3: Lewandowski leads Kovac out of trouble|
|Goerges betters Bencic to clinch Luxembourg title|
|Morgan wants more from ´rusty´ England despite series win|
|Sarri says sorry after touchline bust-up overshadows Chelsea´s late escape|
|Chelsea draw an ´awful´ result for excellent United, says Mourinho|
|The Chelsea assistant that angered Mourinho - Who is Marco Ianni?|
|Steve Kerr supports Colin Kaepernick: ´I think he deserves a chance to play´|
|Lopetegui ´more motivated than ever´ amid Real Madrid sack reports|
|That´s football – Rudiger shrugs off late Ianni-Mourinho fracas|
|AC Milan´s improved mentality could be difference against Inter - Gattuso|
|Emotional Kasatkina comes back from the brink to win Kremlin Cup|
|Forget it, it´s over - Mourinho accepts apology over touchline row|
|Mourinho in furious bust-up with Chelsea staff after late equaliser|
|Chelsea 2 Manchester United 2: Barkley strike denies Mourinho|
|Raptors star Kawhi Leonard: Too early for MVP chants|
|WTA Finals 2018: Profiling the ´elite eight´|
|Cipriani sent off and facing ban for high tackle|
|Real Madrid 1 Levante 2: Lopetegui on the brink as abysmal run continues|
|Warriors coach Kerr: Jerebko ´one of us´ after game-winning tip-in|
|Real Madrid break record for longest goalless run|
|England wrap up ODI series in Kandy rain|
|Melbourne Victory 1 Melbourne City 2: Honda scores but suffers losing start|
|Mata starts for United as Chelsea boss Sarri selects Morata|
|Dovizioso prepared for another Marquez duel|
|Isco returns as Bale makes the bench for Real Madrid|
|Maddison feeling at home with Puel´s Foxes|
|Ruthless Australia beat Tonga in historic Test|
|Pep talks helped Mendy make the most of his time out of action|
|Wantaway Butler revels in boos|
|Emery: Arsenal must be calm with returning Koscielny|