Lee Westwood gave himself a chance to become world number one with a superb charge at Carnoustie today, but little-known John Parry was still the man to catch in the Dunhill Links Championship.
Struggling this week with a recurrence of his calf injury and needing a first or second place finish to dethrone Tiger Woods, Westwood went to the turn in a brilliant 33 and when he birdied the 406-yard first as well he was up from 32nd overnight to joint seventh spot.
But on six under par the Worksop golfer still had seven strokes to make up on 23-year-old European Tour rookie Parry, who with an opening five-foot birdie putt and four pars to follow was five clear of the star-studded field.
Swede Martin Erlandsson had been the closest challenger at halfway, but he set off again at Kingsbarns with a double bogey and a bogey.
That left Spaniard Alvaro Quiros in second place and joint third on seven under were Westwood’s Ryder Cup teammates Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer, plus 2002 cup hero Phillip Price.
Despite the cold and wind Westwood had birdies at the 11th, 12th, 14th and 17th, where he made an 18-footer, before saving par on the difficult 485-yard par four 18th into the wind by splashing out of a greenside bunker to eight feet and making the putt.
His one mistake had been a bogey on the short 13th, but it was superb stuff from a player who was not sure he would be continuing in the tournament after his leg gave him real problems in Thursday’s opening round at Kingsbarns.
If Westwood was to pull out and then miss his Portugal Masters title defence next week he would be certain to overtake Woods on the world rankings at the end of this month, but he wanted to do it in style rather than sitting on his sofa - and what better place than the final round at St Andrews tomorrow.
Parry, with only one bogey in his first 41 holes, ran up a six on the long sixth and, with Quiros and Kaymer climbing to nine under, his advantage was just three strokes.
Westwood had been 10 behind at the start of the day, but he trailed by only five and was in a tie for fifth place when he had his sixth birdie at the 415-yard fifth.