Shane Lowry clinging to Open title belief on final day after battling display
Defending Open champion Shane Lowry has not given up hope of retaining the Claret Jug but he accepts it will take something remarkable to extend his hold on the trophy for a third year.
The Offaly native won at Royal Portrush in 2019 and has enjoyed 24 months as the holder due to last year's postponement.
At five under he will have to have a brilliant final round and hope the leaders give shots back but he is not prepared to concede defeat yet.
"I probably should be closer to the leaders than I am but I played great: tee to green I was as good as I've been all year," he said.
"I'm disappointed because I feel like I'm probably too far back - five-under is a little far back, but it's not that far back I suppose.
"I've enjoyed that Claret Jug for the last two years, and I'd dearly love to have it again. I'm trying my best.
"(It's) a pretty strong defence. If it's not this year, hopefully again down the road."
Even if retaining his title is probably beyond him Lowry still has a lot to play for with FedEx Cup and Ryder Cup points at stake.
"Tomorrow is another big day for me. There's a lot on the line," he added.
"I've got an Open Championship here to try and get my name in the mix on the back nine tomorrow afternoon and I'd love to go out and shoot a good score and kind of cement my place on the (Ryder Cup) team."
South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen (-12) and USA's Collin Morikawa (-11) are currently the ones to catch going into the final day, with Morikawa's fellow countryman Jordan Speith just two shots behind on nine-under.
Rory McIlroy is on -1 after a third round of 69, while Pádraig Harrington finished on +3 going into the final day after hitting a round of 73 on Day Three.