Early scoring offers Open hope
South African Tim Clark gave hope to those players hoping to launch a challenge to win the 142nd Open Championship with some low scoring early on the final day.
Although the 37-year-old had no chance of contending for the Claret Jug, having begun his round at 11-over - 14 off the lead held by England's Lee Westwood - when he teed off at 8am he showed what was possible.
The cloudiest and coolest conditions of the week with little breeze made scoring slightly easier and Clark took advantage.
An eagle-two at the 364-yard second was followed by a birdie at the next and although he bogeyed the seventh he got that shot back at the par-five ninth to turn in 33, three under for his round.
England's Oliver Fisher was also three under for his round, with four birdies and a bogey, having started the morning 12 over.
Westwood, who goes out in the final group with American Hunter Mahan at 2.10pm, leads the field by two shots but the margins for error have become increasingly fine as the Muirfield greens have got quicker and more slippery over the week.
With world number one Tiger Woods and Masters champion Adam Scott, who threw away his chance of winning The Open 12 months ago at Royal Lytham by squandering a four-shot lead, respectively two and three strokes back and two-time major winner Angel Cabrera at one over, there is plenty of quality looking to hunt down Westwood.
But with par being a good score around the East Lothian links any mistakes near the top of the leaderboard can bring a number of other players into play if they can shoot anything sub-71.
It means the likes of Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia and Australian Jason Day, who has finished third and second in this year's two majors, at three over cannot be ruled out while even defending champion Ernie Els and England's Ian Poulter, at five over, have an outside chance.
Some of the early starters continued to make headway, with American Jason Dufner carding a 67, which was unlikely to be bettered. Former Open champion Stewart Cink, winner in 2009 at Turnberry, shot a two-under 69 for a final score of eight over.
He said he was able to benefit from the most favourable conditions of the week but expected things to get more difficult for the leaders.
"Teeing off at 8.30am conditions are a little bit better," he said. "You're dealing with the greens that they've prepared for the later afternoon drying out, so you're dealing with a little bit more moisture.
"The wind is lighter and it may get up later. If it gets sunny it will get up. The greens are a little more receptive and you're flying the ball more to the distance that you're accustomed to on a course with firm greens and not just crazy things short of the hole and short of the green, like we were earlier.
"It was by far the most playable day of the week. You still have to shoot a good score, you have to make some putts. I had a great run on the front nine (a four-under 32) and slowed down a little bit on the back. The holes seemed to shrink up."