Justin Rose kept up his USPGA challenge with a two-under 70 but other leading Brits failed to spark on Saturday.
Rose, now ranked 126th, is playing in his first major for two years
The 26-year-old Englishman has spent two fairly inconspicuous years on the PGA Tour and is in some ways the forgotten man of European golf.
But Rose is now three under for the tournament and in sight of his best finish at a major since 2004.
Two shots behind Rose on one under are European Tour money leader David Howell and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell.
The highlight of Rose's round was his chip-in for birdie at the last - a feat that helped make his name when he managed it at the 1998 Open as an 18-year-old.
I didn't play very well at all - I've struggled with my swing all week
"It was a nice way to finish and kind of ironic. It was only the second green I missed all day," said Rose, who has been winless since claiming four titles worldwide in 2002.
"I think I'm playing every bit as good as I ever have, but just have to get that confidence level."
The 31-year-old Howell will be disappointed with his one-over 73, while McDowell, 27, was unable to repeat the form he showed in shooting a 68 on Friday and had to settle for a level-par 72.
Howell, ranked 10th in the world, said: "I didn't play very well at all. I've struggled with my swing all week."
England's Lee Westwood, however, is one shot ahead of Rose after a 71 and remains in contention for the top-20 finish that he needs to boost his Ryder Cup hopes.