Scott sets the Lytham pace

Adam Scott will go into the final round of The Open with a four stroke lead over Brandt Snedeker and Graeme McDowell.

Adam Scott will go into Sunday’s final round of the Open Championship with a four stroke lead, as he aims to become the first Australian winner of the event since Greg Norman in 1993.

Scott, who has Tiger Woods’ former caddie Steve Williams on his bag, hit a 68 on Saturday to move to an imposing total of 11-under. Brandt Snedeker, the halfway leader, is joined by Graeme McDowell at seven-under.

McDowell will be partnering Scott on Sunday but both will have Tiger Woods – who is one stroke further behind – breathing down their neck as he hunts for a 15th major title.

Going into the clubhouse at six under, Woods once again traded flair for consistency as he traded his driver for irons on a course with devilish rough and 206 sand traps.

The former world number one made a poor start, missing a pair of six-foot putts at holes one and three as his challenge threatened to fizzle out. But after he downed a 40-footer for birdie at six, he sparked him into life, picking up further shots at the par-five seventh – where, for once, he took a driver from the tee – and the ninth, having fired his tee shot to within five feet of the hole.

While overnight Snedeker struggled to a 73, Scott – who also lead the event after the first round – did not let his focus drift. He was peerless with the putter, grabbing three birdies and surrendering just one stroke during the round.

After an indifferent front nine, McDowell clicked into gear with birdies at three of the last six holes, the best of which came at 14 via a long putt. Stiff winds are predicted for Sunday and the Northern Irishman must fancy his chances of reeling in Scott.

Major winners Ernie Els (68) is five-under alongside Zach Johnson (66) and will also feel they are in with a chance of lifting the Claret Jug on Sunday afternoon.

World number one Luke Donald is at one under after a round of 71, but had a major setback at the sixth, taking two shots to escape a bunker on his way to a double-bogey – effectively ruling him out of contention.