Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington were all unable to make any impression on the leaderboard despite excellent conditions in the third round of the Open Championship at Royal Lytham.
World number three Westwood made the cut right on the mark of three over par and was delighted to be paired with five-time Open champion Tom Watson in the second group out, but could only manage a one-over 71.
Former US Open champion McIlroy and double Open winner Harrington began the day one shot better off than Westwood, but carded rounds of 73 and 70 respectively, with McIlroy managing just one birdie.
Some tough pin positions were keeping the scoring in check, with a scoring average of 71.6 for the first 21 players to finish and US PGA champion Keegan Bradley and Vijay Singh returning the lowest scores of 68.
US Masters champion Bubba Watson was the first man to creep onto the bottom of the leaderboard, the unorthodox left-hander carding four birdies and one bogey in his first 10 holes to improve to three under.
However, that was still seven shots behind leader Brandt Snedeker, who held a one-shot lead over Adam Scott after equalling the lowest 36-hole total in Open history - set by Nick Faldo at Muirfield in 1992 - with rounds of 66 and 64.
Three-time Open champion Tiger Woods, seeking his first major title in four years and a 15th overall, was four off the lead on six under.
Some much-needed excitement came from an unlikely source, India's Anirban Lahiri firing a hole-in-one on the par-three ninth after his tee shot pitched 12 feet from the pin and span sideways into the cup.
That followed two earlier bogeys and a birdie on the eighth and lifted the 25-year-old from Bangalore back into red figures on one under on his Open debut.