A brilliant burst of scoring today had Lee Westwood in pole position to claim his 17th European Tour title in the Valle Romano Open de Andalucia.
Westwood went into the third round at Aloha Golf Club two shots behind stablemate Louis Oosthuizen after a course-record 64 in the second round.
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 tomorrow evening.
The chances of such an outcome appeared to be fading after he could only manage four opening pars while Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano picked up three birdies over the same stretch.
But Westwood suddenly came to life with three birdies in four holes from the fifth to reach the turn in 32, and then eagled the 10th and birdied the 11th to move into the lead on 15-under par.
That was one shot ahead of the in-form Fernandez-Castano, who was seeking his second victory in seven days after winning the Italian Open in Milan on Sunday.
The 26-year-old, whose company – and that of Miguel Angel Jimenez – is also promoting the event on the course where he learnt to play, went to the turn in 31 and was in outright second place, two ahead of clubhouse leader Fredrik Andersson.
Andersson set the target of 12-under par by matching Westwood’s course record 64, and admitted he felt the pressure when an even better score beckoned.
“I was seven-under after 10 and it feels like you almost can’t miss,” said the Swede, sixth and third in his last two events. “But I got a little bit tense after my birdie on the 10th and missed a good few chances on the back nine.
“But I can’t complain and it’s great to see my name up there. Hopefully I will get a chance to win, I’ve never done it before on the European Tour so hopefully I will be a bit calmer than I was in the middle of my round today.”
Overnight leader Oosthuizen was alongside Andersson on 12-under after four birdies and two bogeys in his opening 14 holes.
Ireland's David Higgins ended the day on nine-under par, Paul McGinley at five-under and Damien McGrane at one-under par.