Lucas Glover made the first impact on the third-round Open leaderboard at Royal Portrush to give some encouragement to fellow American and joint leader JB Holmes.
Glover carded three successive birdies from the second to move to four under, just four behind his compatriot and Ireland’s Shane Lowry a full two hours before the final pair teed off.
Overnight rain had softened the Dunluce links and a helping wind over the opening few holes offered plenty of scoring opportunities.
Glover took full advantage to move to joint 12th and get his name onto the first page of the leaderboard.
He was joined there by South Korea’s Sang Hyun Park after he had three birdies in his first five holes.
Graeme McDowell, Portrush-born and the only remaining Northern Irishman left in the field, produced a good finish to card a three-under 68 and lift himself to two under for the tournament.
After a birdie, his fourth of the day, at the 17th he hit a brilliant approach at the last to three feet to briefly move himself into the top-30 having been in the third group out in the morning having just made Friday’s cut on one over.
Defending champion Francesco Molinari, also out early, failed to find the spark in his round and did not manage his only birdie until the 14th, eventually signing for a one-over 72 to drop to two over.
Lowry and Holmes were not even on the property at that point and neither were the penultimate pairing of Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood as they looked to strengthen their chances of becoming the first Englishman to win the Open since Nick Faldo in 1992.