Matt Kuchar insisted that Jordan Spieth was not his opponent on Saturday and the Royal Birkdale course was the only thing he had to conquer.
Spieth sunk a lengthy putt on the 18th to move three strokes clear after day three of The Open of his fellow American, who missed a much shorter birdie attempt to sign for a 66.
It was a disappointing finish for the 39-year-old, who did not see the round as a head-to-head tussle with two-time major winner Spieth.
"It's not that I ever felt like I was playing Jordan," he said.
"We certainly had a great round of golf. I never felt like I was out there trying to beat Jordan. It's trying to go up against Royal Birkdale and put on the best show you can against the golf course.
The stage looks set for a two-horse race on Sunday and Kuchar is relishing the prospect of going out in the final pairing, having enjoyed the experience during the third round.
"It was awfully exciting," he said. "It's clearly very, very unique. Being in the last group of a major championship is an exciting place to be.
"You can compete in a major championships and you can be playing and teeing off at 10:30. It's fun to be out there, but it's not like having that 4:00 tee time. It's a completely different animal and it's exciting to be there."