Jarmo Sandelin took Route 66 for the third day running and it propelled the extrovert Swede into a three stroke lead going into the final round of the Peugeot Open de Espana at El Prat.
Sandelin, whose second and last win on the European Tour came in the Madeira Island Open three years ago, stretched his advantage over the quality field with a third successive six under par 66.
The 31-year-old, who won the Turespana Open Canaries on only his fourth European Tour start back in 1995, is three ahead of Irishman Paul McGinley, who matched Sandelin’s 66.
Sandelin is on an 18 under par total of 198, while McGinley is on 201, one in front of the leading Spaniard, Juan Carlos Aguero, whose 67 moved him into third spot on 202.
At the start of the third round, Sandelin had shared the lead with Aberdeen’s Paul Lawrie, but on a day of low scoring, Lawrie slipped back with a 73 as the powerful-hitting Swede continued his smooth progress at the top of the leaderboard.
With Jesper Parnevik also making a strong bid for a victory in the United States, it proved to be a fine day for the Swedes, and a fairly decent one for the local Spanish contingent, who made an impressive challenge to keep the title in their own country.
Ryder Cup player Ignacio shot a 67 to move into a share of fourth with Jamie Spence (70) on 203 while Alvaro Salto is two further adrift on 205 alongside Lawrie, Gary Evans and Alex Cejka.