After making the halfway cut with nothing to spare the 32 year old was only a few inches away from achieving the magical 59 achieved five times on the US PGA Tour, but never on The European Tour.
After an eagle and seven birdies in the first 17 holes of the par-70 Parador course, Ferrie needed to hole his six iron approach to the 449 yard last and from the right-hand rough it trickled past the edge of the cup.
When he tapped in for another birdie he had charged from joint 45th overnight into a three shot lead with a ten under par round, but 1999 Open Champion Lawrie then shot a bogey-free 65 to take over at the top on 12 under.
That owed a lot, however, to a man in the crowd.
Lawrie, without a win since 2002, was heading for big trouble at the short 13th when his pulled tee shot struck a spectator on the back and rebounded onto the green.
Ferrie, who is tied for second with compatriot Mark Foster, wore a Superman belt when he led the 2006 US Open Championship after three rounds, but this is the nearest he has ever come to playing like him.
He becomes only the 14th player to shoot 60 on The European Tour without the help of preferred lies since Italian Baldovino Dassu was the first to do it 40 years ago.
The former European Open winner described himself as "ecstatic" about the round, but then was at pains to say there was nothing extraordinary about it.
"It was unspectacular, but it added up to a spectacular score," he commented.
"You'd expect somebody with such a low score to have holed putts and hit spectacular shots, but it was just a very steady round - lots of fairways, lots of greens and a lot of wedge shots to four or five feet which I managed to knock in.
"Some days you shoot 70 and you are doing cartwheels and are over the moon, but I don't feel I did anything above and beyond.
"I realised that if I finished birdie-birdie-birdie it would have been 59, but 16 and 18 are strong holes and if you get out of position on them you are going to struggle to make pars.
"My six iron at the last looked very good and when it landed I got a little bit excited, but I would gladly have taken 60 with three to play."
Foster, whose only European Tour win came eight years ago, had six back-nine birdies for a 65.
Not one of the halfway leaders managed the par. Dutchman Maarten Lafeber slipped to seven under with a 71 and both Dane Jeppe Huldahl and Swede Rikard Karlberg are one further back.
Lawrie has had only one bogey in the first 54 holes and collected birdies on the second, fifth, sixth, 14th and 17th, where he pitched to within a foot of the hole.
"With the break I had on the 13th even I can't moan about being unlucky," he said. "The pleasing thing is to be in contention after two rounds and then go out and shoot five under."
On what affect Ferrie's 60 had on him, he added: "It's almost a good thing because you have something to chase. I'm looking forward to playing with him tomorrow."