Hoylake, United Kingdom, July 23: Rikuya Hoshino sunk an impressive 46-foot birdie on his penultimate hole of the day, giving himself a chance to surpass his best-ever Major championship finish at The Open.
Hoshino, whose highest Major finish was a tied-26th at the 2021 U.S. Open, put together a solid one-under-par 70 to head into the final round at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, sharing the 41st spot on one-over-par 214.
Hoshino began the day positively, birdieing the par-four second hole after placing his approach shot roughly six feet from the pin. However, further progress eluded him after that.
Subsequently, he recorded 13 pars over the next 14 holes, including a commendable 25-footer on the par-five fifth hole.
His only bogey of the day fell on what is considered the second most challenging hole of this esteemed course, the par-four 10th.
The par-three 17th proved to be a highlight of the week for Hoshino as he expertly curled in a long putt for birdie, setting off a wave of cheers from the spectators.
"It feels like a miracle for me to have made that putt," Hoshino admitted. "I was merely aiming to get closer to the hole, but it went in! It was a joyous moment. The enthusiastic cheers from the spectators made me feel wonderful."
Bolstered by his performance, Hoshino has pledged to give his utmost in his quest to ascend as high as possible on the leaderboard. He currently trails the top 10 by just five shots.
"My shots are in good form. I was able to hit the shots as I intended today. If I can maintain this momentum tomorrow, I'll be able to create more opportunities with my iron shots," Hoshino asserted.
"Hopefully, my putter will also heat up. My goal is to shoot two or three-under."
Japan's top-ranked player, Hideki Matsuyama, maintained a bogey-free round as he scored a 69, placing him tied for 17th on two-under-par 211.
The 2021 Masters champion has set his sights on achieving his first top-10 finish in a Major this year.
Meanwhile, American Brian Harman finds himself on the cusp of his first Major success after carding a 69, securing a commanding five-shot lead on 12-under overall.
His nearest challengers are his fellow American Cameron Young and world number three Jon Rahm of Spain, who are at seven-under and six-under, respectively.