Justin Thomas entered Saturday at 2-under in the British Open and failed to make up any ground after carding another 72.

Bogeys on the first three holes of the back nine pushed his third-round score to 3-over, but he fought back to even par with three birdies in his last four holes. Thomas is tied for 55th heading into Sunday and is 14 shots off the lead.

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That lead is split between Viktor Hovland and World No. 2 Rory McIlroy, who is tantalizingly close to his first major title in eight years. Cameron Smith and Cameron Young, who'd been jockeying for the lead during the first two days of the tournament, share third place.

Thomas's best score on Saturday was 1-under for the round. A bogey on the par-four 4th was his only slip on the front nine. He carded four birdies on the day, his most in a round during the competition.

Had Thomas made par on the three back-nine bogeys, he would have had a 3-under third round and be 5-under for the Open. That would place him at T24th.

It still wouldn't have been enough to come out ahead of fellow Alabama alum Trey Mullinax, who surged up the ranks following a seven-birdie 66 on Saturday. Give Mullinax Thomas's three on the par-4 17th, and he'd be tied for eleventh. As it is, Mullinax is tied for eighteenth at 6-under for the tournament.

Both men face long odds in their respective quests to hoist the Claret Jug. For Thomas, who just eclipsed 100 major rounds in his career, an improbable win would mean his second major title of the year. For fans in Alabama to catch his final round, they'll have to wake up extremely early. Thomas tees off at 3:30 a.m. CT.

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