And so to moving day, the day when the players set out to put daylight between themselves and their nearest rivals – or come out of the pack and into contention.
After two days of play on the tough but fair links course that is Carnoustie, the leaderboard at The 147th Open is so bunched that it is impossible to identify who will be leading the field when the final round begins on Sunday. It is that which makes the third round such a mouth-watering prospect. Will caution win the day, or all-out attack?
What we have seen over the first 36 holes is a steady-as-she-goes approach that has stood joint leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner in good stead. The two Americans lie on six under par, but have some serious challengers snapping at their heels.
Domestic hopes will be resting primarily on Rory McIlroy, Champion Golfer in 2014, and Tommy Fleetwood, the European No.1. That said, Justin Rose will feel that all is not lost after he got in on the cut line of three over par after a brilliant last-ditch birdie at the last.
McIlroy put a lid on his aggression in the second round, but he is just two shots off the lead and primed to attack. “Even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging and I’m going to go down giving it my best,” he said after a second successive round of 69.
Fleetwood, meanwhile, will be hoping to follow up on what was comfortably the best round of the day in what were the worst of the conditions. His bogey-free round of 65, made up of six birdies and 12 pars, moved him to five under par and underlined his current standing as one of the best players in the game. Just last month, the Englishman finished runner-up at the US Open after a record-equalling final round of 63.
Among those lurking dangerously, just three strokes off the lead, are Jordan Spieth, the defending champion, and Rickie Fowler. It is fair to say that all eyes will be focused on Spieth, whose talent and tenacity have taken him to rarefied heights in the game. He has not been in his best form this year, but give him a sniff of victory and he will take some stopping.
In total 39 players are within six strokes of the lead, including three-time Champion Golfer Tiger Woods. There are, however, some serious omissions. Among those to have missed the cut were Dustin Johnson, the world No.1, Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia, Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson, Jon Rahm and Ian Poulter.
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The above images are courtesy of The R&A