Fleetwood recorded a brilliant six-under-par 65 - featuring six birdies and no dropped shots - to go to five-under overall, level with another American duo, Pat Perez and Xander Schauffele. It was his first round in the 60s on the weekend of an Open since 2007, when he shot a Saturday 69 at Carnoustie.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth carded a 67 to move three under.
"I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anyone at this point".
And then there's Tiger Woods.
He was mostly dialed in from tee-to-green but missed a lot of putts and battled through three bogeys and a double-bogey to stay right on the number he started at with an even par 71. It's fine. That's one of the things that happens.
And up in the lead is, of course, Kisner, 34 and just getting going at this kind of contending, wading into the thickness last August when he led the PGA Championship after three rounds. 'There is Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy.
The way golf has been going, it would be reasonable to see the name "Johnson" atop the leaderboard and assume it belonged to the top-ranked player.
More telling than that succinct summation of a day that started wet, got wetter but ended dry came when Woods was asked to identify the one shot he would like to play over.
And, the 2014 champion - who will play round four with Matt Kuchar - hopes to pick up some early shots to help build momentum and apply scoreboard pressure.
Twelve players were separated by four shots, a group that includes Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood and Zach Johnson.
Former world No. 1 Tiger Woods is tied-29 at even par, six shots back from the lead.
British Open leader board lists 39 players within six shots, seemingly all with a chance
McIlroy vowed to stick with his attacking gameplan over the final 18 holes as he bids to end his four-year wait for a fifth major title, and he added: "I'll go out and hit a lot of drivers".
However, at some point we're going to see somebody like McIlroy (Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Spieth etc.) shoot a 64 on a Sunday to win a major (we nearly saw this this year with Spieth at Augusta).
Previous year was the first time in four attempts he had avoided missing the cut at The Open, going on to finish tied 27th on his local course, Royal Birkdale.
Scottish 19-year-old Sam Locke finished on the same mark to continue his Open debut and secure the silver medal as leading amateur, while Rhys Enoch - the only Welshman in the field - also scraped through.
He earned the 54-hole lead at a major for the sixth time in his young career, giving himself a chance of becoming the first since Woods in 2005-06 to win back-to-back titles at the Open.
"I think if I focus more on the middle of the fairways, I'd probably hit more fairways, but I'd also end up, probably if I did miss it, in the wrong spot. I can draw on all my major experiences, good and bad, but I might have to change my gameplan given the winds". Spieth hit 8-iron through a gap in the trees for a birdie-birdie start to the back nine, and he dropped only one shot - not four like he did on Thursday - over the four closing holes at Carnoustie for a 67. "I think the first couple days were hard work and frustrating".
The calm, baked conditions that have swarmed Carnoustie this week were initially replaced by heavy downpours more associated with the Championship before reverting to the week's type later in the day. "I love the imagination needed over here".
"That's a great way to finish", he said. If Woods was in the lead, I could be talked into it. He shot 77 and missed the cut by one shot.
Right alongside him is Bendigo's Herbert, playing his first Open Championship and who rattled around in a two-under par 69 to make sure he could enjoy another weekend of major championship golf.
Jordan Spieth was playing military golf: left, right; left, right; left, right.
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