By Ryan Lavner, Golf Channel

The oft-discussed parallels between Adam Scott and Tiger Woods are striking, sure.

Scott using Tiger’s old swing. His former caddie, too.

They both employed Butch Harmon.

But the most important parallel, the one that resonates now on the eve of the final round of the 141st Open Championship, is this: Scott is 18 holes away from denying Woods his first post-scandal major – and winning one of his own.

Showing no signs of relenting during a near-flawless performance Saturday, Scott seized the outright lead on the front nine, then shot a 2-under 68 that gave him a four-shot lead at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

“It’s a good position,” Scott said. “If I play a solid round of golf, it makes it very difficult for the other guys. So that’s all I’m going to concentrate on, my game, and not concentrate on anyone else.”

With a late surge, Graeme McDowell (67) leapfrogged Woods (70) on the leaderboard and played his way into the final group for the second consecutive major.

“It was my first time really in the cauldron in a couple of years,” McDowell said of his T-2 at the U.S. Open. “It renewed my belief in myself that I can do it under pressure.”

Playing alongside McDowell, not Woods, on Sunday should come as a relief to Scott. The Australian’s caddie, Steve Williams, was on the bag for 13 of Woods’ 14 major victories, but his unceremonious split with Woods last year still serves as fodder for many. That potential distraction no longer exists.

At 11-under 199, Scott is four strokes ahead of McDowell and Brandt Snedeker, five clear of Woods, and six in front of Ernie Els and Zach Johnson.

Snedeker (73), the second-round leader, hadn’t made a bogey in 40 holes, but proceeded to drop six shots on Saturday. A birdie on the final hole left him in a tie for second.

Woods (70) bogeyed two of his first three holes, and a few loose iron shots prevented him from mounting a sustained charge. A couple of missed putts didn't help, either.

“A couple of bad misreads today,” Woods said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

The wind is expected to blow 25-30 mph in the final round – conditions that will bring into play Lytham’s thick rough and pot bunkers, but also reward the most solid ball-striker.

If Scott can hoist the claret jug Sunday, he will become the 16th different winner in the past 16 majors; the 10th consecutive first-time major winner; and the third player in the past four majors to use a longer-than-standard-length putter.

And, potentially, the latest to deal Woods another major disappointment.

"Scott leads by four entering final round," by Ryan Lavner appears courtesy of Golf Channel.

Further Reading At GolfChannel.com:
No charge from Woods on Moving Day at Lytham
Trust issues: McIlroy lacks confidence, now 5 over
Jungle Bird spotted Saturday at Royal Lytham

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  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States plays a shot off the first tee at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Rickie Fowler

    Rickie Fowler of the United States walks off the 11th tee eating a sandwich at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tom Watson

    Tom Watson of the United States plays a shot off the 14th tee at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Rory McIlroy

    Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot on the fifth fairway at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Rory McIlroy

    Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks from the fifth tee at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Rory McIlroy

    Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot off the first tee at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Rickie Fowler

    Rickie Fowler of the United States plays a shot off the fifth tee at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tom Watson

    Tom Watson of the United States putts on the 14th green at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • British Open

    A marshall is silhouetted in front of a solar halo on the 11th fairway at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012. The ring around the sun is a fairly common weather phenomenon caused by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere.

  • Bubba Watson

    Bubba Watson of the United States lines up a putt on the 15th green at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Bubba Watson

    Bubba Watson of the United States reacts after missing a birdie putt on the 16th hole at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Carlos Tevez

    Argentina and Manchester City soccer player Carlos Tevez and his wife Vanesa watch Andres Romero of Argentina and Mark Calcavecchia of the United States at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Matt Kuchar

    Matt Kuchar of the United States lines up a putt on the eighth green at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Zach Johnson

    Zach Johnson of the United States plays a shot onto the 18th green at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States plays a shot on the sixth hole at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States takes a drink on the sixth fairway with his Joe LaCava at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States looks at his scorecard on the sixth green at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States plays a shot on the eighth fairway at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States walks to the 11th tee at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    A boy tries to shake hands with Tiger Woods of the United States as he walks off the 11th green at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark, right, shake hands on the 18th green at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club after their third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States reacts after putting on the sixth green at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States reacts after putting on the sixth green at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Brandt Snedeker

    Brandt Snedeker of the United States plays a shot out of the bunker on the 15th hole at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States lines up a putt on the 15th green at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States reacts on the 15th hole at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States plays a shot to the 18th green at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Thorbjorn Olesen

    Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark plays a shot off the 17th tee at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States lines up a putt on the 13th tee at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Thorbjorn Olesen

    Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark lines up a putt on the 15th green at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States plays a shot off the 12th tee at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.

  • Tiger Woods

    Tiger Woods of the United States reacts after playing a shot off the 14th tee at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship, Lytham St Annes, England, Saturday, July 21, 2012.