Defending champion Lee Westwood moved stealthily into contention for his second Standard Life Loch Lomond title on a day of high temperatures and low scoring on the Bonnie Bonnie Banks.
Westwood, whose only victory this year was in the Macau Open following the Masters tournament, is on the brink of defending his title after a third round of 67.
His three round total of 201, 12 under par, leaves Westwood one stroke ahead of four players in Compaq European Grand Prix David Park, Swedes Jesper Parnevik and Mats Lanner and 1996 Loch Lomond champion Thomas Bjorn.
No fewer than 15 players are within five strokes of the lead as the Standard Life Loch Lomond, 1999 edition, heads towards a towering climax in the final round.
Westwood, back on top of the heap again following his shoulder injury, said: “It’s nice to be back in contention again. I couldn’t trust the shoulder until the English Open week but I had a good lesson with Peter Cowen last Tuesday and got my body back in harmony with my arms.
“I am playing as good tee to green as I ever have and I think all round my game’s better. The bulk of my shots are better. It’s great timing for next week.”
Bjorn, back in form following the birth of his first child in May, looks to be a danger to Westwood after “getting back to basics” with his swing. Now, with game and mind in order, Bjorn is getting into the groove as his round of 66 proved.
Parnevik, despite a double bogey at the seventh, hit back to shoot a level par 71 to stay in contention after leaving himself free to concentrate on golf thanks to a lack of mathematical problems to solve.
Sergio Garcia, the teenage star of the Murphy’s Irish Open last week, burst from the blocks in dynamic style, birdieing the first three holes to open up a two stroke lead. However the youngster was betrayed by three bogeys and he had to settle for a level par 71.
He lies in sixth on 203, one ahead of a group containing Colin Montgomerie (70) and course record holder Retief Goosen (68), while Nick Faldo is not out of it on 206 after a 68.