The Queenslander was left mightily frustrated that luck seemed to desert him on the inward nine on Saturday's third round "moving day" as his two under par 68 still left him tied for ninth on six under for the Championship, six shots behind the leader Louis Oosthuizen going into the final round.

Yet Smith reckoned that he'd put on his all-maroon Sunday best gear as usual to honour his Queensland heritage and then do his utmost to shoot the eight-under-par 62 that he thinks it will take to earn him his first major triumph.

"I still think the chance is there, but it's going to take something pretty special," shrugged Australia's No.1.

"At the top of the leaderboard, Louis and Jordan (Spieth) are great competitors, great winners who've proved themselves so many times before.

"It's going to be tough to get past those. So, yeah, I think hope's still there, but it's very slim."

Cameron Smith acknowledges the crowd after his birdie putt on the 6th green. PHOTO: Getty Images/AFP

Smith was talking at a point when Spieth looked as if he might finish alongside Oosthuizen but the former champion slipped back to finish at nine-under in third place, with last year's PGA winner Collin Morikawa a shot behind Oosthuizen on 11-under.

The Australian reckoned things could so easily have been different on another cloudless day where the winds were pretty becalmed and he rattled off three birdies in the opening nine holes, including an arrowed tee-shot to within a couple of feet of the flag on the short sixth, to go out in 32.

Then the course, typically, got its own back straight after the turn.

"I hit a couple of poor drives on the back nine, had to hack one out backwards at the 10th because the lie was that bad, and followed it up with a really good shot into 11, which hit the slope and came back down," shrugged Smith.

"I'm not making excuses – it's the luck of the draw out here sometimes. I hung in there, made a couple of birdies coming in and it felt really good to birdie 18 and kind of be on the front foot for tomorrow.

"It just makes dinner taste a little bit better tonight.

"But I really felt like if a couple of things had gone our way, we'd have shot a really low one today.

"Because it was a bit of a brutal back nine to be honest; I think I hit the ball just as well as I did on the front, but things just didn't go my way, the putts didn't drop.

"One of the most disappointing nines score-wise I've ever played – so very frustrating."

Smith hits his tee shot from the 16th tee in the third round. PHOTO: Getty Images.

Smith was reminded that Greg Norman, the last Australian winner in the Open on these links in 1993, had once blown a six-shot lead in the Masters over the last 18 holes , so surely still anything was possible?

To which the Brisbane man responded: "If the leader's on 12, probably 14 under will win, so that'll be eight under for me (62) – and that's a really big ask around here.

"You do need a lot of things to go your way, but I feel really good, this was probably my best ball striking round of the week, my game feels like it's there, and that there's a low round in me. It's definitely there."