Ryder Cup hero Paul McGinley fixed his sights on a first victory for 25 months as he gave chase to all-the-way leader, Retief Goosen, in the third round of the Trophée Lancôme at Saint-Nom-La-Brèteche in Paris.
McGinley, the man who holed the winning putt for Europe at The De Vere Belfry almost 12 months ago, goes into the final round three strokes behind the South African after posting a round of 66 to the South African’s 68.
Goosen remains in command on 196, 17 under par, with his Irish challenger on 199.
A round of 66, five under par, enabled McGinley to edge closer to Goosen, who missed a four foot par putt at the last to see his lead cut to three from McGinley with Belgian youngster, Nicolas Colsaerts, a shot further back on 200.
England's Ian Poulter, bidding for his third title on The 2003 European Tour International Schedule, was another shot adrift after a best-of-the-day 65 which included five birdies and a superb eagle at the 16th to offer a demonstration of intent.
Goosen, the 2001 US Open Champion, had to settle for a 68 after previous scores of 63 and 65, and said: "That wasn't the round I was looking for but hopefully it's my bad one out of the way and I can finish it off on Sunday.
"I drove the ball pretty poorly and my swing was not feeling up to standard. It's always tough leading with people chasing but I'm still there and need to get off to a good start on Sunday. A lot can happen over the last few holes, especially when they are playing into the wind and playing long."
McGinley’s round contained six birdies and just one bogey, and expected to find himself at least four off the lead before the unexpected error from the European Number One Goosen, who has plenty of work to do in order to complete the hat-trick of Volvo Order of merit titles.
"He is a really good front-runner and a tough man to beat," said McGinley, whose last victory in the 2001 Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open secured his Ryder Cup berth for 2002.
"He is on fire, I saw one shot he played from the trees on the 15th that could have gone anywhere but ended up stiff judging from the size of the cheer. It's his week and a lot of things are going for him. He's won a lot of big tournaments but we'll see what happens on Sunday."
One player who certainly has not given up hope is the colourful Poulter, who has already won twice this season and has not forgotten what happened to Goosen here two years ago.
The South African led by four shots with four to play but did not even make a play-off, dropping two shots while Sergio Garcia made three birdies to snatch a dramatic victory.
"It should be enough of a lead but you saw what happened two years ago," said Poulter, who chipped in for his eagle at the 16th. "Golf throws up funny stories now and again where things can happen."
Poulter missed last week's Omega European Masters with tonsilitis and has booked a date to finally have his tonsils removed, although he will have to postpone it if he makes England's team for the World Golf Championships – The World Cup at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.
"I was really ill last week and could barely get out of bed for two days," added Poulter, who won in The Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open earlier this season despite suffering from the same ailment.