A three putt bogey on the final hole of the Westin Resort at Ta Shee cost Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez the outright lead at the end of the penultimate round of the BMW Asian Open in Taiwan.
The 37 year old former winner of the Volvo Masters had produced a solid round in blustery conditions but his slip-up meant he will go into the final round looking for his seventh European Tour victory alongside Sweden’s Carl Pettersson who will be looking for his first.
The 24 year old from Gothenburg carded a 69 to move to seven under par 209, alongside Jiménez who had to settle for a 70. The duo are one stroke clear of France’s Thomas Levet and second round leader Jarmo Sandelin.
Welshman Stephen Dodd and England's Brian Davis are another stroke adrift on five under with double Masters champion José Maria Olazábal amongst a quartet of players three shots off the lead after a level-par 72 in his third round.
"I played very well and made a nice birdie putt on the 16th from 30 feet and nearly holed the first putt on the 18th," said Jiménez, who partnered Sergio Garcia to joint sixth in the WGC – EMC2 World Cup in Japan last week.
"But on the second one something was going through my mind and I missed it. Sometimes you think you are concentrating but your mind is open to anything that goes through it. But it is always nice to be under par and I'm hitting the ball well. If I can keep my concentration tomorrow I will be there."
Jiménez finished 20th on the Volvo Order of Merit this season, mainly thanks to his joint third finish behind David Duval in the Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes, but is without a win on The European Tour since claiming the Volvo Masters in 1999.
"This year has been up and down. Trying to play on both the European and US Tours is tough and I also had tennis elbow at the start of the year that stayed with me until June. But I intend to play both sides of the Atlantic again next season."
Next season as far as the European Tour is concerned actually begins this week with this tournament the first that counts towards the 2002 Order of Merit.
That would mean Pettersson would technically be denied a victory in his rookie season if he wins on Sunday, but such issues will not concern the young Swede if he caps a fine year with his maiden title.
The 24-year-old finished 61st on the Volvo Order of Merit and is confident he can go one better than his second place behind local favourite, Angel Cabrera, in the Open de Argentina in March.
"It feels nice to be leading," said Pettersson, who came through the Qualifying School last November to earn his card. "I've had a good year but it's been a while since I was in contention and it's nice to be playing in the last group on Sunday.
"Finishing second in Argentina proved to myself that I could win out here. I gave it a good shot but Angel played a little better than me but it proved that if I play well I can win and that's something I will be thinking about tomorrow which will give me some extra confidence."
Compatriot Sandelin looked like he would be the man to lead the way into the final round when he led the field by three shots at one stage after his third birdie of the day on the 10th.
But a bogey on the 12th, where Jiménez made birdie, gave the impetus to the Spaniard and Sandelin, a winner of two titles on the 1999 European Tour International Schedule, dropped a further two shots in the space of four holes on his way to a level par 72.
Levet matched Pettersson's 69 to join Sandelin on six under par 201 but, further down the leaderboard, the expected challenge from Asian specialist Vijay Singh, who won in successive weeks on the Continent earlier this year, failed to materialise.
The former Masters champion, who triumphed in the Carlsberg Malaysian Open and the Caltex Singapore Masters, could only manage a 73 to lie four shots behind Jiménez and Petterson. Elsewhere, six time Major champion Nick Faldo carded a 74 to tie for 25th place on one over par 217.