Brian Harman has never won a major tournament and the most recent of his two PGA Tour titles came six years ago, but his commanding five-shot lead may have the rest of The Open field playing for second place.
Harman entered the third round with a five-shot lead and as the +600 favorite by BetMGM to win the Claret Jug on Sunday. After a shaky start, the 36-year-old rebounded to maintain that cushion heading into the final round, and he is now the -175 favorite at the book.
The cautionary story of Jean van de Velde blowing a five-shot lead at Carnoustie in 1999 was quick to be referenced by analysts, but oddsmakers believe the gritty Harman will be able to handle the stage at Royal Liverpool on Sunday.
The former Georgia Bulldog has even shorter odds at DraftKings, where he is the -200 favorite to win the tournament.
Harman said he hoped to get about 10 hours of sleep Saturday night, but also imagined it may be difficult while sleeping on the 54-hole lead of a major.
"The thoughts come and go, so we'll do our best and sleep as much as we can," said Harman, who opened the championship as a +20000 longshot.
SECOND STILL PAYS
Harman will be paired on Sunday with Cameron Young, who tied for third at St. Andrews last year in his first Open Championship.
Young birdied the final hole Saturday to push Jon Rahm out of a potential spot in the final group after the Spaniard shot an 8-under par 63. It was the lowest round ever recorded in an Open at Royal Liverpool, and shot the world's No. 3-ranked player right into contention for his third career major title.
While Young and Rahm are both being offered at +700 by BetMGM to win the championship, it's Rahm who is the +250 favorite ahead of Young (+275) to finish in second place. Viktor Hovland is +700 while England's Tommy Fleetwood, who shot a disappointing 71 while paired with Harman on Saturday, is +800.
Young and Rahm are both being offered at +275 in the same prop bet at DraftKings, where Hovland is +550 and Fleetwood is +800.
ALL EYES ON HARMAN
How Harman handles the pressure on Sunday will be one of the main storylines. He rebounded from a pair of early bogeys on Saturday to post a 2-under 69 that included four birdies.
Will he play more cautiously with a big lead, or will pressure from the pack force Harman to keep the pedal down?
He had five birdies in the first round and added four more along with an eagle in the second.
Harman is being offered at +100 by BetMGM to have at least four birdies/eagles on Sunday and at +120 to shoot 70 or lower. Both markets could depend on how much pressure he is ultimately facing.
By contrast, Rahm will most definitely have to play aggressively from the outset, and the book is offering him at -110 to make at least five birdies/eagles in the finale round. He's also +110 to shoot 69 or lower.
Young, meanwhile, is +110 to make at least five birdies/eagles and +140 to shoot in the 60s.
"I think you just kind of have to see how the first couple holes play out tomorrow and then you maybe start aiming at things that you might not otherwise," Young said.
"Tomorrow, we're going to plan on the same plan of attack as the last few days and kind of see where we are after a few holes."
--Field Level Media