Lee Westwood quickly discovered he had a real battle on his hands to claim his 17th European Tour title in the Valle Romano Open de Andalucia today.
Westwood went into today’s third round at Aloha Golf Club just two shots behind stablemate Louis Oosthuizen after a course-record 64 yesterday.
And despite being without a tour victory since October 2003, the world number 63 had to be considered the favourite to lift another trophy come Sunday evening.
But the rest of the leading contenders had no intention of making life easy for the Ryder Cup star, who could only manage pars at the opening two holes this morning.
Attempting to reach the par-five first in two, Westwood could only find a greenside bunker and, after splashing out to six feet, missed the birdie putt.
In the group behind there were birdies however for South African Oosthuizen and Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, moving them three and two shots ahead of Westwood respectively.
That quickly became a four and three-shot cushion as the pair also birdied the short par-four second hole.
Oosthuizen led the way on 12 under, one ahead of Fernandez-Castano, chasing a second victory in seven days after winning the Italian Open in Milan on Sunday.